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Culture & Identity of Portugal

Introduction

The Portuguese are quite relaxed and their way of life reflects this. For most people, they only work to enjoy life and life revolves around this social dynamic, not their business aspirations. In addition to this relaxed attitude, another factor that strongly alters the daily way of life in Portugal is where a person lives; about 60% of the population lives in a city, and over 10% of the working population works in agriculture.

Despite work, the Portuguese tend to live for their free time. Evenings are often spent at home with family or out with friends, while weekends (Saturday-Sunday) and long stretches of time off of work (generally during the summer months) are spent in any way the people desire. Although traveling is not unheard of among the Portuguese, they are much more likely to stay home with family and friends over a meal or get out in their area. Many people enjoy sports, visiting the beach, or seeing a nearby city and experiencing the nightlife and everything else it has to offer.

Of course to maintain this lifestyle, work is necessary. The Portuguese focus enough on life that work is taken seriously, but only in small doses as overworking is never truly a problem in the country. For the farmers of the country, the day generally revolves around work, the sun, and the weather. However, for others the way of life is more dependent on their jobs as the workday takes up a vast amount of time. Most Portuguese work from about 9:00 am to about 5:00 pm. However, there is often a long lunch break in the middle of the day. Schools have similar hours, but tend to end around 3:30 pm. In some cities and in some jobs the long lunch break is slowly disappearing, forever changing the culture and way of life in the country.

Identity

The Portuguese identify as Portuguese and this identity is defined by being ethnically Portuguese, speaking Portuguese, being Catholic, and perhaps also being a Portuguese citizen. This definition of their identity is fairly easy to maintain as there is very little difference between being a Portuguese citizen and being an ethnic Portuguese as nearly every citizen is also ethnically Portuguese. On the contrary, ethnic Portuguese abroad are often identified differently, for example the Brazilians are usually considered Brazilians, not Portuguese, but rather as a brother and friend who lives in Brazil.

This page was last updated: November, 2013