June 10th is the Day of Portugal. It marks the anniversary of the death of Luís de Camões, the Portuguese literary icon who wrote Portugal’s national epic poem. On June 9th, Mayor Samaras and the Lowell City Council welcomed members of the Portugese community to Lowell City Hall for one of the biggest flag raising ceremonies of the year.
Portuguese immigrants first came to Lowell in the 1890s and early 1900s, settling in neighborhoods like Back Central and the Highlands so they could go to work in the textile mills. By 1907, they had founded their own parish, Saint Anthony’s of Lisbon.
The celebration began with a parade which originated at St. Anthony’s Church, featuring all kinds of different modes of transportation.
The large group of over a hundred then gathered at City Hall to begin the ceremony.
In his remarks, Mayor Samaras noted some of the key Portugese institutions present in the City of Lowell, including the Saab-Pedroso Center for Portuguese Culture and Research at UMass Lowell. He also mentioned the UMass Lowell students who recently were awarded an “Excellence in Cultural Heritage” award by the Lowell Heritage Partnership and Lowell National Historical Park for the exhibit, “Immigration from the Atlantic Islands to Lowell: Continuity and Change in the Mill City’s Portuguese Community.”
“It may be surprising to some—but probably not to this crowd—that the Portuguese language is the second most-spoken language in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after English,” the Mayor shared during his speech.
Former Chief of Staff to Congressman Marty Meehan and Portuguese American Lori Trahan was among the guest speakers at the Day of Portugal ceremony.
Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo was certainly a fan favorite on Saturday.