Tradition of the Manjerico in Lisbon

The Manjerico is a small pot of Basil traditionally given in Portugal as a symbol of love or friendship on June 13th, St. Anthony's Day.  As well as being Patron Saint of Lost things St Anthony is also the Saint of Weddings. 

Known as “Valentine´s herb” the manjerico is a popular plant at Saint Anthony’s parties in Lisbon. According to tradition, during the celebrations of the Saints in June, a boy offers a manjerico, which is a little potted plants of newly sprouted Basil, to his girlfriend. In the plant, is placed a paper-mache flower and a small flag on which a popular verse of love or friendship is written. Offering a manjerico is almost like a vow.

Manjerico que te deram
Amor que te querem dar
Recebeste o manjerico
O amor fica a esperar

Manjerico given to you
Wishes to give you Love
Receive the basil
Love is waiting

The manjerico’s tradition says that one should not smell the plant directly, as this makes it dry faster. Therefore, the correct way to feel their fragrance is to move your hand gently on the plant and then smell your hand.
The Manjerico is an aromatic plant, and requires much care. The girls who receive one must look after them for a year, until the following year’s celebration, when hopefully a new one will be received.

Popular Saints Festivals


  1. I never knew this! What a lovely idea!

    1. I like the fact that you should take care of the plant, unlike a Valentine card which you might just put away. The festival of St John later in June is funnier. They hit each other over the head with leeks or plastic hammers!