Traditions and customs Portugal

Traditions and customs Portugal

Religions and beliefs

La religious fervor of Portugal has nothing to envy to the deeply Catholic European countries. No need to mention Fátima, the Portuguese Lourdes, and the pilgrimages always very followed by Bom Jesus, the monastery of Alcobaça or even Batalha.
Every Sunday, many believers flock to the churches. But in recent years, these have been less frequented. If about 85% of the population is Catholic, we nevertheless notice the rise of religious sects such as Jehovah's Witnesses. Other sects coming directly from Brazil are gradually appearing, to the chagrin of priests who see Europe and social and economic progress as the slayers of the Catholic religion.
Unless it was the separation of State and Church, at the end of the Salazarist dictatorship in 1976, which marked a gradual opening of the country to other skies.

As for the Muslim religion, it is estimated that it brings together approximately between 40 and 000 faithful.

Know-how and customs


Meal times are slightly later than ours: lunch takes place around 14 p.m. and dinner around 20 p.m. Be careful, outside of Lisbon and the seaside resorts, restaurants close around 22 p.m.


Tobacco legislation has banned smoking in public places since January 1, 2007 outside of reserved areas (100 m² reserved in bars and restaurants).

Courtesy and art of talking

The Portuguese seldom appreciate our superhuman efforts to address them in Spanish. For historical reasons, the two languages ​​have not always gone hand in hand. The effort often turns out to be useless, since first of all the answer is generally poorly understood, unless you master a maximum, secondly, the interlocutor friend answers, 2 time out of 1, in perfect French.

The Portuguese are rarely yours.
If you do not know the person you are talking to, precede the name of the person you are talking to with a "Senhor" for a man or a "Senhora" for a woman. With practice, you will easily be tapped on the shoulder and you will be called by your first name, that's a good sign! Then we will talk to you, because here more than elsewhere we like to chat, even if it means stopping every 3 meters in the street.


Try to attend one of these parties: it is among the most typical events in Portugal. It is religious processions, with celebrations in series that celebrate the saint of the city. All these events are accompanied by rites and customs varying from one region and one city to another. In the evening, however, we rather celebrate Bacchus and all the gods of good food!

  • See the Romarias of Porto and Viana do Castelo.

Last names

How to distinguish the name of use among the many names given by the Portuguese when asked for their full name?
The name is often composed of 2 first names and 2 surnames (the last name of the mother followed by the last name of the father): the usual name is then generally formed of the first name and the last name. However, this rule is very flexible and you may meet someone with 4 or 5 surnames and being called by their middle name or by their two first names.

Note, however, that the first name normally comes before the last name (including in most alphabetical classifications) and that it is always easier to reach someone if you know their full name.

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