Revolution of Carnations

   Refers to the Revolution of 25 April 1974. Carnations of many colors, but principally red because of the symbolism of red for leftist (including socialist and communist) views and action, were common in Lisbon flower shops during the rainy day of 25 April 1974, when the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) overthrew the Estado Novo. The carnation appeared to embody the peaceful, bloodless, almost romantic nature of the military coup, which met little or no resistance from the Estado Novo's last defenders. The only blood shed on 25 April was spilled when the Lisbon headquarters of the political police (DGS) fired into a surging crowd of procoup enthusiasts who rushed the front of the building; five persons died and several people were injured.
   When people began to give the MFA troops carnations to stick in their rifles, guns, and uniforms and on their helmets and caps, the idea of using the carnations as a symbol of the peaceful intentions of the MFA spread. Soon various parties and even the government adopted the symbol of red carnations, and this icon of change began to appear in graffiti on walls.

Historical dictionary of Portugal 3rd ed.. . 2014.

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