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On the 1st of December the independence of Portugal from the Spanish domain is celebrated. It is however a date in which Spanish don’t know or simply ignore it. In Portugal we can still hear ‘ ‘ from Spain no good wind, nor good marriage’’, but the feeling isn’t the same nowadays. The Spanish like to come to this beautiful country planted by the sea and for the majority of the Portuguese, Spain is no longer going to Badajoz to buy some candies. There is so much more between these two countries than fado on one side and sevillanas, on the other. The rivalries have been forgotten for too long. They are water under the bridge and a new love is slowly flourishing as well a bigger interest in getting to know each other.

This article will try  in a fun way define some cultural and behavioural differences between the two countries. Of course this is just something generalized and not every Portuguese and Spanish follow these same rules.

1. Behaviour

(Imagem: Reprodução Fugas Publico)

Imagem: Reprodução Fugas Publico

As a general rule we define the Spanish as being extroverted, talkative, expressive, informal and loud speakers. As for the Portuguese they are more reserved, speak less and lower, more polite and formal. In what formality is concerned the Portuguese win. It is the country of doctors and engineers, where the title is really important, too much… On the other side, the Spanish are offended if they are treated formally.

2. Schedule

(Imagem: Reprodução disney babbel)

Imagem: Reprodução disney babbel

Something that they don’t agree with and it is not because of the one hour of difference in time zone. At noon in Spain they eat something light to entertain our stomach, and they have lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 10 pm. Something which is unthinkable in Portugal where lunch is normally at 1 pm and dinner at 8 pm.

3. Food

Spanish believe that Portuguese only eat fish, since codfish is the king. On the other hand, Portuguese believe that Spanish only eat fried food and tapas. In Spain they religiously have the first dish, than a second one, than the dessert. In Portugal we mix the first with the second in which rice is the favourite ingredient.

4. Coffee

Imagem: Reprodução El Pais

Imagem: Reprodução El Pais

Spanish agree on this one – coffee in Portugal is the best and it is part of its culture. After the meal at home on a weekend, for example, you see a whole family going out to have coffee at the usual place. The price also helps – its average cost is 0.60€.


5. Languages

(Imagem: Reprodução Taxi Cafe)

Imagem: Reprodução Taxi Cafe

Other positive feature which Spanish recognize is the easiness in which Portuguese have in learning foreign languages. Mostly thanks to the richness of the Portuguese phonetics. Another advantage is that in Portugal we can watch TV or cinema with subtitles. This way the ear is more used to the sound of other languages.

6. “Las Piedras Rodadas”

(Imagem: Reprodução Rolling Stone)

Imagem: Reprodução Rolling Stone

This lack of aptness which Spanish have with foreign languages created a myth among the Portuguese in which they believe that their neighbours translate everything in the Spanish way. Really everything… Instead of ”The Rolling Stones” they say ”Las Piedras Rodadas” or instead of ”Johnnie Walker” they have ‘’Juanito Caminante’’. It is funny, but don’t laugh in front of a Spanish about that. They guarantee, completely shocked that it is really a myth and not true.

Spain and Portugal are two different and independent countries with a lot in common. History doesn’t deny its love and hate relationship, like brothers. We like to be that way and so we complement each other.
Now we leave you with a funny question: if 1st of December of 1640 hadn’t happened and Portugal hadn’t become an independent country, would we have listened to fado with more flavour?

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