Corpus Christi, Festivals

Corpus Christi

Monstrance, National Archaeology Museum of Lisbon
Monstrance in National Archaeology Museum of Lisbon

 

Corpus Christi (Dia do Corpo de Deus) is an important religious festival in Portugal and is a recently reinstated national holiday. The date of the festival is movable, but occurs on a Thursday in either late May or June, 60 days after Easter Sunday. Corpus Christi, which means ‘Body of Christ’, celebrates the Holy Communion, based on the Last Supper in the Bible where Jesus gave bread and wine to his disciples and described the bread as his body and the wine as his blood. In every Catholic church, on this day, there is a Mass where the bread is consecrated, followed by a procession where the priest carries the consecrated bread in a special vessel through the streets, followed by the congregation. Some towns have an intricate carpet of flowers along the procession route. As the day is a public holiday, banks, post offices and many small shops will be closed and there is likely to be a reduced public transport service.