Praia Day in Capo Verde Date in the current year: April 29, 2024

Praia Day in Capo Verde Praia City Day (Praia Day) and Praia Municipality Day are municipal holidays in the West African state of Cape Verde celebrated on April 29 and May 19, respectively. They were inaugurated to honor the country’s capital, which is the largest city in Cape Verde, as well as its economic, political and cultural center.

The Republic of Cape Verde is an island country, whose capital is located on Santiago island, discovered by Genoese navigator António de Noli in 1460. Praia wasn’t the first European settlement on the island. The Portuguese originally founded Ribeira Grande (now known as Cidade Velha) in 1462, choosing the location due the abundance of water from the nearby river.

The future capital was founded a century and a half later. The first mention of the village named Praia de Santa Maria dates back to 1615. The word “praia” means “beach” in Portuguese, so its name can be loosely translated as “the beach of Saint Mary” or “the shore/coast of Saint Mary”. Due to its location near the natural harbor, Praia quickly became an important port of call for Portuguese ships sailing to or from African and South American colonies.

As Ribeira Grande and Praia were important transit points for Portuguese navigators, they suffered many pirate attacks. Due to Praia’s strategic position on a plateau, it was better protected from pirate raids than Ribeira Grande. Thanks to this, Praia gradually grew larger than Ribeira Grande and eventually became Cabo Verde’s most important settlement. It was officially declared capital in 1770.

In 1858, Praia officially became a city, which secured its status as Cape Verde’s capital, as well as its political, economic and religious center. During the 19th century, its historic center (Plateau) was completely redeveloped according to a grid street plan. Most of Praia’s signature buildings (the Presidential Palace, the city hall, the Pro-Cathedral of Our Lady of Grace and the building that now hosts the Ethnographic Museum) were erected by the early 20th century.

Following the 1975 Carnation Revolution in Portugal, Cape Verde declared its independence in 1975, and Praia became the capital of a newly independent state. After independence, many Cape Verdeans moved to Santiago in search of a better life, which resulted in a demographic boom in the capital. Today, 56% of the country’s population resides in Santiago, and 29% in the Municipality of Praia.

Economically, most of Praia’s residents are employed in the tertiary sector, including administration and governance, healthcare, education, commerce, tourism, services, finance, etc. Other sectors of the city’s economy include food, clothing and furniture production, production of building materials, and fishery. The city also has the country’s second most used port and is served by an international airport.

Praia City Day and Praia Municipality Day are official holidays in the municipality. They are celebrated with various festive events and activities organized by the municipal government. They are non-working holidays only in the Municipality of Praia, but since about the third of the country population live there, April 29 and May 19 are days off for quite a lot of people.

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Praia City Day, Praia Day, Praia Municipality Day, holidays in Capo Verde, regional holidays, municipal holidays