Portuguese Expressions

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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

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The Art of Fishing

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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.

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Sweet D. Rodrigo!

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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.

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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.

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