Traditions and rituals in Portugal
Grapes and wine are very important in Portuguese traditions. Grapes are considered a symbol of abundance and fireside comfort. One of the most popular traditions in Portugal is eating twelve raisins on New Year’s eve. At midnight a person should eat twelve raisins, for every raisin he or she makes a wish for every month of the year.
Important and famous people
Famous and important people of Portugal vary from famous soccer players and movie stars to explorers, like Christiano Ronaldo, Ferdinand Magellan, Renato Sanches, Carmen Miranda, Henry The Navigator and Bebe.
Music, art and literature
A popular form of music in Portugal is Fado. Fado songs are characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics. These songs are often about the life of the poor, feelings of sadness, fatefulness and melancholia. In the southern province of Alentejo, there is a surviving tradition of polyphonic (usually male) vocal groups. These usually include the positions of a ponto, who sings the first couple of verses, an alto, a second singer who takes over the theme singing it a third above the original pitch.
Many Portuguese contemporary artists have made their mark on the world stage, like Maria Helena Vieira da Silva who was a famous Portuguese abstract painter and Carlon Botelho was known for his street scenes of Lisbon.
The beginnings of Portuguese literature are to be found in medieval poetry. It was originally developed in Galicia and northern Portugal. Literary trends during the twentieth century are represented mainly by Fernando Pessoa, considered as one of the greatest national poets together with Camões, and, in later years, by the development of prose fiction, thanks to authors such as José Saramango, winner of the Nobel prize for Literature.
Traditional cuisine and eating habits
The Portuguese cuisine has been greatly influenced by the Mediterranean. It is mainly famous for its seafood. The influence of Portugal’s former colonial possessions is also notable, especially in the wide variety of spices used, like piri piri and black pepper. Olive oil is one of the bases of Portuguese cuisine, which is used both for cooking and flavouring meals. A Portuguese breakfast often consists of fresh bread with butter, ham, jam or cheese, accompanier with coffee, milk, hot chocolate or tea. Lunch, often lasting over an hour, is served between noon and 2 o’clock or between 1 and 3 o’clock, and dinner is generally served late, around or after 8 o’clock.
The Portuguese traditional games are part of the cultural heritage as they have been transmitted from one generation to another and reinforce the local social identity. A few traditional games are the Handkerchief game which aims to be the first to grab the handkerchief when your name is called, Quoits, with the aim of throwing a disc to knock down a pin and Jogo Da Corda, with the aim of dragging the rival team to its sides by pulling on a rope.