Culture of Portugal

Portuguese culture originates from the Latin culture of Ancient Rome and has a Celtiberian (northeastern Hispano-Celtic) background, from an area of the Iberian Peninsula.

Portugal, rich in folk tradition, boasts a variety of dances, such as the Circle Dance, Fandango, Two-Step Waltz, Schottische (Chotiça), Corridinho, Vira and the Bailarico. The country’s different regions reveal their own unique characteristics.

Portugal has a rich cinematographic panorama, shown in some 100 films made in the last decade and directed by some 60 sixty different people. Manoel de Oliveira is known as the master of the Portuguese cinema, respected throughout Europe as the father of the Portuguese cinema. Oliveira’s long successful career serves as inspiration to a new generation of directors in Portugal. In Europe, Oliveira is respected as a cultural treasure.

Portuguese literature has evolved after generations into contemporary literature. Portuguese literature dates from the 12th Century with the lyrical works of Joao Soares de Paiva and Paio Soared de Taveiros. The country’s literature has evolved as Classical lyrical texts, which remain as milestones in Portuguese history. Almeida Garrett, Antero de Quental and Camilo Pessanha are significant figures in Portuguese literature. Modernism is the most famous literary movement in Portugal, with Fernando Pessoa as one of the greatest Portuguese writers. Though Portugal is known for its poets, the country is also home to writers of Romanticism and Realism. The Portuguese writer Jose Saramago was granted the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1998.

Portuguese music traditions, including modern music, reflect the historical, cultural and political processes of the country. Portugal’s contact with non-European cultures from North and sub-Saharan Africa and Brazil have greatly influenced the country’s music. However, the 1980s and 90s were marked by a search for a new musical discourse in urban Pop music, as well as an increase in industrialisation and commercialisation of music production.

Though Portugal has been slow to develop a significant drama tradition in theatre, the country has been passionate towards lyrical and humorous works. The 16th-century playwright Gil Vicente is often respected as the father of Portuguese theatre.