Portugal Traditions

Every country possesses its distinctive features and traditions. Throughout its history, Portugal was a powerful monarchy with multiple colonies, which nowadays turned into a small European country and an attractive travel destination. Besides unique sightseeing spots, marvelous archipelagos and beaches, one should also be aware of Portuguese traditions, as far as a national mentality and customs might be advisable and reasonable while planning a trip to this country.


First of all, Portuguese people are pretty calm and dreamy people, in contrast to their neighbors – furious and emotional Spaniards. Besides, Portuguese natives dislike to be compared to Spaniards or any other nation, as far as they strongly adhere to their historic heritage. Deliberateness and uneventfulness are obvious attributes of the Portuguese in business and at work. Late appearances are possible and acceptable. So, there is no surprise if tourists clash with siesta phenomenon – from 12 AM – 3 PM all the institutions and shops are closed and phones remain silent. This is a rest time caused by a baking sun and unbearable heat. In addition, Portuguese restaurants also follow the idea of passive lifestyle – most of them are closed by 10 PM.


Bright and vivid colors are a peculiar feature of Portuguese national clothes. Women prefer bouffant long skirts made of striped or checkered fabrics (known as saia), while men - shortened leggings (calsas), waistcoats and sombreros. Kerchief is an obligatory part of the national costume of the Portuguese women. Moreover, the national clothing style might vary regionally: from the rich and colorful costumes in Minho to the shy dresses and black kerchiefs in Coimbra.


Portugal people also can boast of national dances and music. Among folk dances preserved in the culture one should know Vira, much similar to a common waltz, Corridinho, Fandango and many others. Practically, all of them were originated in different regions, but, eventually, were distributed all over the country. Music traditions of Portugal are much associated with Fado, a national genre carrying feelings of sadness, loneliness and anguish. Therefore, it is not a surprise that fado songs were originated from the word “fatum” (fate).


Most of the Portuguese are true-blue Catholics, which is also observed in national holidays and celebrations. Commemoration of Saints and pilgrimages to holy places are typical and common throughout the country. On feast days, marked with massive celebrations, it is essential to meet churchmen holding images of canonized or Saints; then the holiday transforms into a lovely carnival with performances and a staging of Bible plot lines. Probably, every Portuguese city can brag of multiple churches and cathedrals, which points out respect and regard to Catholic religion.


Speaking of specific national traditions in Portugal, grape and wines should be underlined. Grape is considered a symbol of abundance and fireside comfort. It is also referred to the national New Year tradition: at midnight a person should eat 12 grape berries with every stroke; simultaneously he or she makes a wish for every month of the year.

The Portuguese are also skillful in handcrafts, which include wood-carving, jewelry and keepsakes making and lace knitting. Most of the products might be purchased on the streets of travel resorts and beaches.