Dia de Reis Traditions

Three Wise Men, Henry Collier.jpg

Three Wise Men, Collier

Happy Dia de Reis everyone!

Original in Portuguese, Dia de Reis is known in English as Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day. Celebrated a little bit everywhere in the World, in Portugal the traditions are taken very seriously.

This day, January the 6th, officially ends the Christmas festivities. Suposly, this was the day when the Three Wiseman visited baby Jesus and offered him presents. In Portuguese, their names are Baltazar, Belchior and Gaspar.

Note: the last one, is not popular among Portuguese people anylonger… since someone called Vítor Gaspar was the Finance Minister and led the country through a rough moment! xD

Although the festivites end, we end the season, of course, with a big party. The tradition tell us to eat a Bolo Rei – or King Cake. When we were kids, this cake was baked with a fava bean inside or a small gift (usually, a porcelain miniature).

Continue reading “Dia de Reis Traditions”

Praise the Day of Portugal!

Dia de Portugal.JPG
Photography: Backyard Tours

Did you know that today we are celebrating the Day of Portugal?

Our last post was also a about a celebration – April 25th -, and the truth is, the day of today is somehow related with the Carnation Revolution.

But June 10 is not only the Day of Portugal, but also the Day of Camões and the Portuguese Communities. What a kerfuffle!

Let us briefly explain. Luís de Camões was a poet in the 16th Century and he represented the homeland, splendor and glory of Portugal. We will write about him in another post, but we leave here the idea of how important he was, inspirational human being, praising the Portuguese and all our glories.

Since he was a reference, when our First Republic was establish in 1910, it was decreed that June 10 would be his day – precisely the day he died in the year of 1580.

Continue reading “Praise the Day of Portugal!”

1974, April 25th Carnation Revolution

25 de Abril 1974.jpg

An important date is coming closer for the Portuguese people – April 25th, Dia da Liberdade (Freedom Day). It is of the most importance and still very recent.

Let us tell you why… Before 1974, Portugal was in a fascist regime, the Estado Novo (“New State”), under the Minister President, António de Oliveira Salazar control, for four decades. Portugal was a poor country and was constantly oppressed in civil rights and political freedom. Many people debate if this was or not a fascist regime, but it was an authoritarian conservative regime certainly.

Salazar.jpgAntónio de Oliveira Salazar

Reaching a point of big depression and decay, a group of Portuguese low-ranking militaries gathered and created the MFA- Movimento das Forças Armadas (Armed Forces Movement), in Lisbon, to end with Estado Novo regime and change the government into a democracy.

Continue reading “1974, April 25th Carnation Revolution”

A Very Sweet Post!

Backyard Tours - Bolo de Mel, Monchique.JPG

For those who know a little bit about Portugal, certainly know that the gastronomy is one of our fortes.

It is tremendously rich from North to South; inland, where the stews and broths are typical, or in the coastline, where the fish and shellfish are kings and the freshest there is. Not to mention the desserts, simply divine!

In the Algarve, most of the sweets are made with almonds, carob and honey, since the region is known for the production of those same ingredients.

And today, we decided to bring you a recipe typical from Monchique, the mountain side and limits of the Algarve.

Monchique, among many things, is known for the fantastic and delicious honey. There isn’t a place where you can find a more pure, golden and marvelous honey than the one from Monchique.

Hope you enjoy it as much as we do, and don’t forget, if you ever visit the Algarve, try this delicacy! 😉

Continue reading “A Very Sweet Post!”

Portuguese Expressions

pulga atrás da orelha - junkhead.jpg
Translation: Flea behind the ear (meaning: being suspicious about something)

The Portuguese language can be very complex and tricky. It happens very often, sentences or phrases have a second meaning: sometimes good, others sarcastic, but most of the times naughty …

Sure they are funny and curious. It is something that makes part of us. Since kids we’re used to hear them from our parents, grandparents, neighbors, the owner of the local shop in the corner… And for that, we even don’t ask anymore where some of the expressions originally came from. It just makes all the sense to us!

burro velho não aprende línguas.png
Translation: Old donkey doesn’t learn languages (meaning: too late to change)

Some expressions differ by region, but some are the same everywhere so everyone knows them. Although it’s difficult to transmit the idea behind the expression, and trying not to lost it during translation, we are going to leave you here some very typical and amusing Portuguese expressions!

Continue reading “Portuguese Expressions”

Fernando Pessoa, The Man With All The Dreams In The World

Portrait of Fernando Pessoa, Alamada Negreiros (1964).jpg

Portrait of Fernando Pessoa by Almada de Negreiros, 1964

Fernando Pessoa was born in Lisbon, in June 13th of 1888. He was a writer and poet and left a beautiful heritage to our country – his words.

As almost every great mind and artist, he didn’t had the most easy or happy life. After his father death on Pessoa’s 5th anniversary, and his brother death right after, on the next year – 1894 -, his mother wed a consul of Portugal in Durban (South Africa), where they end up living for the next years of his life.

Being educated in South Africa, he learned English and started to write poems in that language. By this time, he already created some heteronyms* and manifested a creative and very sensitive mind.

In 1901, another tragedy affects the family – this time, his youngest sister dies; but his mother give birth a fourth son from his stepfather, pushing Pessoa further away from love and affection. He returns definitely to Portugal in the year of 1905, leaving the family in South Africa.

Continue reading “Fernando Pessoa, The Man With All The Dreams In The World”

The Portuguese Shepherd Dog

If there is an animal truly faithful to Men, that is without doubt, the dog. The four legs partners are the most reliable friends and they’ve a lot of love and friendship to give, if they’re allowed to.

In Portugal, there are some dog breeds with all those characteristics and much more, such as to guard herds. Such dogs are the Serra da Estrela, big and strong dogs, of a singular beauty.

Is not known how this breed has developed, but they have established in Serra da Estrela region. However, it must be one the oldest dog breeds in Iberian Peninsula.

05.Quinta S.Fernando.jpg


Photo credits: http://www.caoserradaestrela.com/fotos/

Continue reading “The Portuguese Shepherd Dog”

The Art of Fishing

Backyard Tours - Fishing Art.JPG

Slowly you get to know the best our country has to offer – the wine, the people, and the gastronomy for sure… But we also must not forget something very important and which makes part of our culture, the fishing tradition.

Having the Atlantic Ocean as one of our neighbors and the 3rd biggest Exclusive Economic Zone of Europe – 11th in the World -, made us look at the Sea as way out, as a partner, that would almost provide all the raw materials and food we need, and thus our strong connection with it!

Fishing is an ancient art, and for centuries we see our Men departing to high seas and to return with the goods, result of their hard-work: wide variety of fresh fish, that will turn into a delight on our mouths and satisfy our tummies.

Continue reading “The Art of Fishing”

Sweet D. Rodrigo!

Backyard Tours, Lagos.JPG

With Christmas Day so close, it is time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. Personally, the best gift someone can give me is food. Yes, food! And if it is something related with baking or if it is something sweet… Oh my, even better! I’m a food enthusiast and have a really big sweet tooth over here!

I believe there are a lot of people like me and if you are one of them or have friends like that, Backyard Tours team have a wonderful and truly Christmas sweet suggestion to present – D. Rodrigo! 🙂

It is a typical and traditional sweet from the Algarve. It is believed it was born in Lagos around 1755 – also atragic year for Portugal! A big earthquake occurred and destroyed a big part of the Portuguese coastline, where the Algarve was severely damaged leaving an almost complete devastation.

Continue reading “Sweet D. Rodrigo!”

December 1st of 1640, A Day to Remember

Aclamação de João IV de Portugal, por Veloso Salgado.jpg

Aclamação de D. João IV de Portugal, Veloso Salgado

Quick Portuguese History lesson: December 1st of 1640, a day that every Portuguese should know and remember.

When our young and reckless king D. Sebastião (1557-1578) disappeared and certainly died in Africa, he left our country with no heirs or someone that could take control of everything. What happened next was that in 1581, Filipe II (1527 – 1598) of Spain is claimed king and he takes our country under is hood. For six long decades, Portugal shared the King with Spain, which we call “Filipino Domain”.

Spain was in control not only of our territory, but also all the economies, exports and imports, as well as our maritime traffic and army. Is like Portugal was a small province of Spain, where people where forced to pay taxes and fees to the Spanish Empire.

But Spain was also struggling with their own problems: some regions of Spain (Catalunha and Andaluzia) where in some conflicts and mutinies, and therefore the King Filipe IV of Spain, III of Portugal (1605 – 1665) had all his attention directed to those areas.

Continue reading “December 1st of 1640, A Day to Remember”