The Core Values of a Portuguese

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by Ana Santos Silva

picture of Coimbra, by Ana

What does it mean to be born in and to grow up in Portugal? What core values does the average Portuguese grow up with?

Family was the first that came to my mind and is definitely important to Portuguese people. Like all my friends in my age-group (twenties), I still live with my parents and I will probably continue to do so until I find a solid relationship. It is normal for us to leave home only when we are ready to establish and continue the lifestyle we grew up in. Even when we leave home to study abroad, we tend to telecommunicate with our core family members on a somewhat daily basis and we always have our bedrooms waiting us at home. Feels heartwarming for me!

This first value is intimately related to the second one: education. As we are encouraged to be as successful as we can be at school and to go as far as possible in the educational system; this might explain why we are unable to afford living on our own due to the fees we have to pay to proceed with university studies.

Another core value is freedom. Portugal was under a dictatorship for forty years, until 1974. The sense of freedom tends to be more valued by people who were born in the 50’s or earlier – those who lived through suppression and were prohibited from talking, singing, writing, reading and listening to what they wanted to. Anyway, as this was such a recent event in our history that left unforgettable marks on the country, the effects are not completely lost on the young people, as freedom is not taken for granted as it might be in other countries.

Last, and very important as my father would point out, the Portuguese nation recognizes the honor, the dignity, the integrity, the audacity of its compatriots. Many Portuguese men and women will always be remembered due to their great character.

Obviously, these core values I have mentioned represent the view of a young woman, specifically me!, and probably are not symbolic for all Portuguese natives. Moreover, some values tend to remain through history while others seem to disappear or emerge, like ecology, solidarity and health.

Inevitably, my choice of these four values have also been influenced by my interaction with (which I am grateful for) other young people from countries like Spain, Poland and Finland. I believe that you cannot truly define your culture until you have been in contact with others who are different from you.

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7 Responses to “The Core Values of a Portuguese”

  1. Nicoline Ambe says:

    Thanks for sharing your life story with us Ana. I enjoyed reading it. Portuguese notions of education and family are no different than how African's view them. Children also stay home for as long as they want. It's not abnormal, it's not strange. It's just what family does – provide shelter for one another. In American society, once a child gets to 18, signals start flying and put pressure on the child to leave. If my children chose to never leave home, I would be the happiest parent. Who doesn't want a little company, huh?

    I had not read much about the Portuguese political struggles, and quite frankly did not know they existed. So this presents an opportunity for me to explore Portuguese history.

    Well I know you mentioned that you are in your 20s. I wish you the best and you sail through life. Enjoy the many new and exciting possibilities that it presents. Thanks again for sharing your story!

    • Ana Santos Silva says:

      Dear Nicoline, thank you for your comment. I think Portugal and Africa do have a strong connection; so many portuguese people move to live in Africa, go there in vacation or in a volunteer mission to teach, for example. My mum was born in Angola, as you might know, a portuguese language country. Hopefully I can go there once in my lifetime!

      Unfortunately, if you start reading more about Portuguese history, you will find not so proudful chapters.

      By the way, I also enjoyed really much your article, especially the picture :) You are beautiful women. I wish you all the best. Thank you.

  2. Marie says:

    This piece is a good example of why I enjoy this platform. Thanks Dunia for providing us a medium where we can get close to other cultures and see that we are not that far apart. The only thing I could think of up till today thinking about Portugal was the where the name of my country comes from( Camaroes). Despite that connection the desire was never ignited in me to learn more. But Ana,you made me connect and learn about several things, including how education and families are valued
    It was also very interesting to see how the history of the country has an effect on people even several generation down the line. Now if I meet a Portuguese and detect that sense of freedom I know where it comes from. Thanks Ana for sharing

    • Ana Santos Silva says:

      Dear Marie, thank you very much for your message. I agree with you: Dunia is an easy and interesting way to get in contact with other cultures and open our minds.

      You just taught me right now that the origin of the name of Camaroon was because of the presence of portuguese mariners in the area of your country! As you know for sure, Camarões are shrimps, in english, the seafood. I’ve just used internet to learn more about Cameroon history! Thank you for teaching me this.

      Hopefully we’ll keep in contact in order to share much more things about our countries! Obrigada.

  3. Portugal is a land of different cultures and the core values of that country are well known by the born and brought up people of Portugal. They give high importance to family, freedom, education and honor than any other things. This makes them special from other people across the world. Thanks for sharing this article.

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