LISBON, June 20 (Xinhua) -- The farewell ceremony to the Portuguese Nobel prize winner Jose Saramago was held here on Sunday without presence of Portuguese president, the right-wing Anibal Cavaco Silva who was on a four-day vacation in Azores, one and a half hour flight from capital Lisbon.
More than 20,000 people went to his death watch. He was cremated in Lisbon and although there was a dispute on where his remains would be deposited -- on the town where he was born, on the Spanish town where he lived or in Lisbon -- the city mayor of Lisbon announced that the chosen place was the Portuguese capital city, where Saramago worked most of his life and was elected president of the city council in the 1990s.
Deputy prime-minister of Spain Maria Teresa de la Vega said in her speech that "we are all orphans of his comforting words. He dreamed of a world in which the strong ones would be fairer and the fair ones would be stronger."
Speaking to Xinhua, literary critic Eduardo Lourenzo said "He was a man that created myths. What else can an artist expect?"
Some of the people that were at his funeral traveled hundreds of kilometers to be there. Many of the people present had red carnations, the symbol of the Portuguese democratic revolution.
"I came from Santo Tirso (300 kilometers from Lisbon) to watch the ceremony. I knew him in the 1980s and even after he received the Nobel Prize he was a humble and straight man. I am a teacher, and once I told him that one of my students loved his books. In some days he sent me by mail a signed book for my student,"said a teacher named Maria Augusta Carvalho.