RIC President celebrates ‘Day of Portugal’

(Photo: courtesy of Graciete Ambrosio )

(Photo: courtesy of Graciete Ambrosio )
In Portugal and in Portuguese communities around the world, June 10 marks the annual Day of Portugal celebration.

On June 5, Rhode Island celebrated this worldwide event with a parade and festival that highlighted the Portuguese communities, heritage and culture in and around the state.

RIC President Nancy Carriuolo, and her husband, Ralf, joined the festivities and rode through the parade route in their own 1929 Mercedes Benz Gazelle reproduction, decorated with Portuguese flags and signs that announced the new Portuguese major offered at RIC.

The new bachelor’s degree in Portuguese began last fall and concentrates on the language, literature, geography and politics of Portugal.

“Ralf and I were proud to represent Rhode Island College in the annual parade and to celebrate the Portuguese for their many achievements,” Carriuolo said.

The parade route began at the State House and proceeded through Smith, Canal, Steeple and Exchange streets to the Bank of America City Center, where a grand heritage festival took place.

Portugal Day (Dia de Portugal) is the country’s national holiday and observes the date of Luís de Camões' death on June 10, 1580. Camões, whose writing has been considered comparable to the mastery of Shakespeare, wrote Os Lusíadas, Portugal's national epic poem depicting Portuguese history and maritime adventures. Portuguese immigrants throughout the world celebrate this holiday. There are more than 30 celebrations across the U.S.

Camões’ poem focuses on the 16th century Portuguese explorations, which brought fame and fortune to Portugal. The poem is considered to be one of the most important works in Portuguese literature, and has become a symbol for the Portuguese nation.

"Bringing Rhode Island College and the Portuguese community together at the Day of Portugal celebration, connects heritage speakers of Portuguese with all the opportunities that the college has to offer,” said Marie Fraley, interim director of the Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies at RIC.