The "Day of memory, mourning and affirmation of hope" would take place on 22, 23 and 24 October, and proposals are being outlined for group and individual events to be developed on those days.

The group presenting this proposal, which receives the support of the President of the Republic, is composed of around 100 people from various areas, including musicians, actors, writers, doctors, politicians, journalists and lawyers, among others.

The writer Alice Vieira, the former Minister of Justice Laborinho Lúcio, the psychiatrist Daniel Sampaio, the comedian Bruno Nogueira and the musicians Pedro Abrunhosa and Rui Veloso are some of the promoters of this day.

"There is a duty of memory towards the 17,000 Portuguese who died, many of them alone," Teresa de Sousa, journalist and one of the members of the group told Lusa.

In a manifesto presenting the initiative, it is explained that this national day arises "in memory of what each one lived, to underline the collective grief, affirm hope and pay tribute to the victims of the pandemic.

The day aims to mobilise Portuguese society and arouse the participation of all people and institutions that so wish, giving density, face, life and collective meaning to the numbers, statistics and graphs with which everyone has been confronted since March 2020.

"In a special way, the day proposes to pay tribute to those who have left, to welcome the suffering and the narratives of those who have been affected by the pandemic and its consequences, and to celebrate and thank all those who have taken care of health and reduced the suffering and pain of so many. It will also be an initiative to affirm the will to live in communities that do not want to leave anyone behind", they explain.

One of the proposals is that there may be a national ceremony, in a way to be defined, and multiple local or business initiatives, of a free nature, articulated in a local programme, if possible, trying to give substance to all that the pandemic left in memory.

On one of the days, to be determined, it is proposed that church bells ring at midday and families are invited to place, at night, a candle in a collective public space or in the windows of their homes.

A 'site' will be created where all the initiatives can be announced and registered. This site will also have a teaching role, receiving and proposing ideas about what can be done locally.

"The initiatives should be open, plural and inclusive, and may take forms such as civic celebrations, religious/ecumenical celebrations, concentrations, parades, vigils, (minute) silence, human cordons, artistic installations, musical or performing sessions (dance, poetry, theatre, murals ...)," reads the document.

Religious institutions are invited to join the day through various national or local initiatives, as well as schools, with the organisation of projects that value the expression of children and adolescents regarding the experiences and learning they have made with the pandemic, as well as health institutions, social intervention and civil protection.

The citizens' group also believes that cultural institutions and players, so heavily penalised by the pandemic, could include in their programming and creation specific proposals for artistic interpretation and the expression of meaning and significance in these times of pandemic.

The media are also invited to take the initiatives they deem appropriate to inform and mobilise the community.