Demons and dreadful masquerades will invade Empire Square (Praça do Império) in Belem from May 16 to 19.

The tradition of “demons” (caretos, foliões, rapazes…) is still very much alive in the northern regions of Portugal, and the neighbouring regions of Spain. It has its origin in the pagan rites that mark the rhythm of the seasons. Playing to frighten yourself, hiding behind pimps, was once a way to ward off real fears.

Once a year, Lisbon invites the masks to show themselves during a big parade which takes place on Saturdays from 4.30 pm on Place de l’Empire in Belem.

Some 42 groups are present this year. It is the opportunity to plunge into a world of phantasmagoria, full of colour and in a good mood.

Amazing costumes, so-called “Celtic” music, with of course bagpipes and drums, and all these strange and fascinating masks of all kinds.

The FIMI- Festival de Masques Ibériques presents during 4 days all kinds of complementary activities: workshops, concerts, gastronomy.

And of course music with folk concerts.

On May 17 from 9pm, the Portuguese group Recanto and the Spanish Skama la Rede.  Saturday will be the music of O Gajo e des Galandum Galundaina on Sunday afternoon, at 5pm, the group Ciranda.

A very original and fun festival.