The Portuguese created colonies beginning in the 1400s to trade spices, gold, and agricultural products, to create more markets for Portuguese goods, and to spread Catholicism. Today, most Portuguese are Roman Catholic, however there is no state or official religion.

Since the 1400s, the family has continued to bethe foundation of the social structure and forms the basis of stabilitythroughout Portugal. Loyalty to the family comes before other social relationships, including business. Portuguese natives enjoycelebratinga wide variety of festivals which are a significant part of Portuguese cultureand social history. Nearly every small town has a local celebration, which is generally based on a local saint’s day or agricultural harvest. One of the most well-known festivals is Carnival in February, celebrated in many towns and cities with parades, music, and dancing.

Baked Cod and Potatoes

Portuguese cuisine is well known for its use of fish and seafood, which is no surprise, given its reliance on the fishing industry. In general, the cuisine has Mediterranean influences and a heavy reliance on spices, herbs, and garlic. The national music of Portugal is called Fado, which has its roots in the 1700’s. It is an emotional and somewhat sad style of music that tells stories of life.