Folklore in Portugal is an important part of culture and can be seen from home to church. Storytelling still occupies an important place in society, which can be seen in its abundance of fairy tales, legends and local myths. Traditional beliefs and customs have mixed with the Catholic religion, resulting in a great belief in superstitions. Many people believe in the evil eye, or in the ability to give bad luck or illness to another person. It is common practice to also leave offerings with saints.
- Portuguese Festivals –
Throughout Portugal, people celebrate a wide variety of festivals that are a significant part of Portuguese culture. Almost every small town has a local celebration, which is generally based on a local saint’s festival or agricultural harvest. Sometimes they last for days at a time. One of the most famous festivals is the Carnaval in February. This event is celebrated in many cities and towns with parades, music and dancing. Other cities celebrate Carnaval more traditionally, as a spring fertility festival complete with people wearing masks for the duration of the event.
- Portuguese cuisine –
Portuguese cuisine is famous for its use of fish and seafood, which is not surprising, given that it relies on the fishing industry. In general, the cuisine has Mediterranean influences and a strong dependence on spices, herbs and garlic. Lunch is the longest and longest meal of the day, sometimes lasting until 2 am. This meal includes the 3 courses: soup, main dish and dessert. The most common soup is the green heat made from potatoes, sausage and kale. The main dish is often fish, salted cod is very popular. For dessert, rice pudding is usually served.
- Portuguese Games –
Games and sports are still seen as a way of socializing in Portugal and an integral part of Portuguese culture. Many have been passed down through several generations. One of the most common traditional games is Quoits. This game is similar to bowling, but instead of rolling a ball to knock down the pins, the players throw a disc. The discs are made of wood and iron and are thrown onto pins 2, which are positioned very far apart. Two teams of members 2 and 5 play against each other. Popular sports include: soccer, handball and futsal.
- Fine arts and performing arts –
Portugal has a long history of fine arts and shows, including dance, music, theater and art. At the beginning of the 16th century, a pictorial style known as Manueline developed. This movement was followed in the following centuries by a focus on portraits, romanticism, naturalism and realism. Today, museums and art galleries across the country are home to many of these works of art.
The national music of Portugal is called Fado, which has its roots in the 1700s. It is considered a rather sad musical style that tells life stories. This music is so important for national identity that, when Amalia Rodrigues, the most famous fado musician, died, the country has observed three days of national mourning. Traditional dances include: fandango, circular dance and corridinho.
- Social beliefs in Portugal –
As mentioned above, Catholicism has a great influence on Portuguese culture. It has influenced health care, the education system, holidays, weddings, funerals and the laws of the country. Portuguese culture itself is very polite and reserved, especially when you meet someone for the first time. Once two people are aware, however, the relationship is more friendly. The typical greetings include two kisses on each cheek.