On the 1st of December we celebrate our independence from Spain. It’s a date in which Spanish don’t know about it, or they simply ignore it. In Portugal, it is said ”From Spain, nor good winds, nor good wedding”, but the feeling might not be the same. Spanish like to visit Portugal and for the majority of the Portuguese, Spain is not all about Badajoz, a town near the border, to buy caramels (it was a long back tradition). There is more between these two countries than fado or sevillanas. The rivalries are forgotten, and there is a growing interest in getting to know each other.
There are many articles in Spain that in a very funny way, define the cultural and behavioral differences between the two countries. We read some and we highlight his one from ABC. Attention: you can’t always generalize. Not all the Portuguese or Spanish follow these rules!
The general idea is that you define the Spanish as extrovert, talkative, expressive, informal and speak loud. The Portuguese are shier, talk less and low, they are formal and polite. And in what formality is concerned, Portuguese win. They are a country of doctors and engineers where the title has a lot of importance, even too much. On the other hand, Spanish feel offended when they are treated formally.
2. Meal Schedules
Something that they don’t agree with is with their meal schedules. In Spain, at noon they eat something light to entertain their stomachs, and they have lunch at 3 pm and dinner at 10 pm. Something unthinkable to a Portuguese who has lunch at 1 pm and dinner at 8 pm.
Spanish believe that the only fish that the Portuguese eat is codfish, since it is the king of fish. And the Portuguese believe that Spanish only eat tapas or fried food. It’s not always like that. Both countries have a quite varied food, following the Mediterranean diet. The big difference in on the division of courses. In Spain, they have religiously the first dish (normally a salad), the second and then desert. In Portugal, we mix the first, with the second on the same dish, and we love rice.
Spanish at least agree on something: coffee in Portugal is so much better! Coffee is part of Portuguese culture. At weekends, after a meal at home, an entire family goes out to have a coffee at the usual place. The price also helps, paying the average of 0.60€ per coffee.
Another advantage which Spanish recognize among the Portuguese skills is the easiness of learning foreign languages, Thanks to the Portuguese from Portugal phonetics which is much richer. Another advantage is that in Portugal you watch foreign TV programs and cinema with subtitles. The ear gets accustomed to the sounds of other languages.
6. “Las Piedras Rodadas”
This lack of ability to speak different languages from the Spanish made create among the Portuguese some myths in which Spanish translate everything in the Spanish way. Everything, including the rock band names. For example, “The Rolling Stones” is “Las Piedras Rodadas” or “Johnnie Walker” is “Juanito Caminante”. The joke is funny but don’t laugh in front of a Spanish about it. They really feel shocked and guarantee that it is really a myth.
Spain and Portugal are two different and independent countries with a lot in common. History doesn’t deny this love and hate feeling, as in any siblings’ relationship. We are all family. 🙂