Portuguese art xávega(fishing)

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So what is arte xávega?



Imagine that you are at the beach in Costa da Caparica in between 6pm 8pm ,having your sun tan, and all of a sudden you start seeing fishermans coming in, driving two big tractors and, a couple of wooden small  coloured fisherman boats coming to shore.

You also might see that there’s a couple of floaters on the water , normally orange color, on which a big cable is attached to . On the first half of the cable there is a big net or XALAVAR with a conical shape that is connected to a small wooden boat canoe  called traineira.

Xalavar or xávega derive from the arab referring to xábaka or net.

So basically as THE TRAINEIRAS  are coming back to shore, the big net starts  closing in the siege for the fish.

The end of the cable coming from the floater, is attached to one of the tractors using a drawing machine , and the other end , the one in the boat,is also attached to the second tractor with another drawing machine.

As the net gets to beach, the mystery is unveiled, voilá, lots of fish jumping  on a frenetic rhythm with a lot of people coming in to see, and eventually buy some fresh fish to eat home. So basically you get your sun tan and 1kg of sardines.Not bad at all!!

Sardines are not the only fish caught in the net…..As a matter of a fact, it is a blind fishing…No one knows what’s coming…


Back in the 70s instead of tractors it was still common to use animal power , bulls, or even manpower with lot of arms at the same time pulling the ropes.

It is worth to mention that this kind of fishing is characterized  mostly for the type of nets they use, and specific boat characteristics. For example in the northern beaches it is more common to use very narrow and pointy boats so that hey can cross over the big waves more easily. This fishing art has been used since the 14 hundreds mostly starting at the southern coast, and, nowadays it only serves small communities to feed the families within. Its a very dangerous profession whereas you can be alive in the morning and not returning back in the night…..It is known that the boats that are still in  use in the southern coast ,come from the old islamic boats used in Andaluzia back in the medieval times.Unlike the boats from the north with more of a Gallega influence.Meaning…..Galiza a provence from our spanish brothers.

It is known that these communities that progressively settled in along the portuguese coast were,and still are, very devotees to their saints like Sao Pedro, São João Batista ,Sao Benedito, you name it….

Also following some sort of tradition, when the fishermans husbands were in danger at the sea, their wifes wood throw stones to the saints trying to humiliate them,or, they wood even bury them in case of bad weather with no working conditions to feed the family.


The days of the week..

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Have you ever asked yourself why the portuguese, along with every single portuguese speaking country, has organized the days of the week differently from all the rest of the western culture…It is commonly known the Monday , the day of the moon, Saturday , the good or planet Saturn, or in italian, Venerdi from the latin, for Venus, or, Jeudi in french for Jupiter etc… Well this is all about mythology . Nordic,saxon mythology or greek roman mythology. Same goods…..

On the other hand the portuguese days of the week are based on  the liturgical celebration, originally  involving the holy week on eastern. Church, religion and catholicism are pretty much on it.

So monday goes for segunda-feira, tuesday for terça -feira an so on until friday. So basically in english would be second feira, third feira , fourth feira, fifth feira and sixt feira.Its a numerical system on wich the word FEIRA is very important. Originally from the latin FERIA wich means holiday. The word also diverged for FEIRA or, the fair,  the market.  Holyday goes for FERIADO in portuguese.

So we Conclude that during a certain period around the v century a christian bishop from Braga old roman Bracara, decided to change and reorganize the days of the week according to the day of the lord, Sunday or DOMINUS FOR DOMINGO in portuguese. Praying and absence from any activitie that would involve work,  would be common during the FERIA oR HOLYDAY the seventh day of the week.So monday would be the second day after the FERIA  and so on and so on.

As for the saturday, in portuguese SABADO, OR, SHABATH from the judaism. This would be and still is their seventh day of the week. That tells us how important was the correlation between both religions .Actually both have the same root and every one respected that, otherwise we would have a different definition for Saturday i guess.


The word ….Saudade


Saudade …..what is this word all about..

First of all there was a voting made by several different experts on linguistics , in London, at a very well known translation agency , and they have concluded that the portuguese word Saudade was not easy to translate on different languages, and so it was placed on a ranking, as the seventh most difficult word to translate . Don’t know if it is european ranking, or if it is their own ranking. Nevertheless , it’s a curiosity worth to discuss about.

It is one of the most used words in the  portuguese love  poetry. All of the countries that speak portuguese share the same feeling about such a word. There’s even the day of Saudade in Brazil celebrated on the 30th of January. Its a word that i would consider as common link between the portuguese spoken cultures, like a bridge, frequently used in Bossa Nova or Samba lyrics in Brazil. As a matter a fact, the title of the most famous Bossa Nova song in Brazil is CHEGA DE SAUDADE.It was the beginning of this sort of new Samba back in the 70s. Also in Cap Verd, the well known Cesaria Evora became famous singing the Morna entitled SODADE ,portuguese dialect. And of course, our FADO it is commonly sanged using the word Saudade within the lyrics.

Saudade is the memory of being happy in a past that won’t come back no more, the misfortune of  having joy out of memories, and not having it in the present.The desire and hope of that in the future, that joy will come back.

This is the portuguese Saudade description that suites the most according to a very well known portuguese writer Carolina Michaelis . I think is perfect.

Originally comes from the latin SOLITAS, SOLITATIS. Its funny that if we grab the half SOL..it will takes us to Sola , Spanish or italian for lonely. Or, Só, portuguese for lonely.

The Portuguese people..



So i deal with tourists every day and one of the things that i hear the most is that the Portuguese are very likable people.Very well known for their hospitality as well regarding tourists or even immigrants that need to feel welcome to start a new life on a different country.

Unlike most of Europe ,we are very open to the outside world.


We like to dance and hear african music mostly from our brothers in Africa , Angola, Cape Verd etc…Kizomba clubs and also brazilian Forró   dance places, are very common , mostly in big cities like in Lisboa for example.Question…..why those guys don’t dance portuguese folk traditional music..?.Its always the portuguese embracing other cultures..and not the other way around …

Since i’m a little boy i always had present in my life the so called Brazilian soap operas. My grandmother use to watch it religiously every single day, and so did every single family. So it’s a part of Brazil very present in our culture since the 80s, and might be the reason why we are acquainted with the brazilian culture,portuguese brazzilian accents , expressions etc…Nowadays we have our own soap operas and even some actors and actresses had been invited to participate on Brazzilian soap operas and vice versa.Times change… Still ..Always us consuming their soap operas and not the other way around although we have our own now..

Another aspect important to refer is the FOOD…yes the food it is something that the portuguese are proud of. If you go to someone’s house you will never starve that’s for sure. They will try to blow your stomach, or, to put you on a food high….Even if there is no money , don’t worry the food will be there.

Regarding relations and friendships, portuguese might not be the easiest, but if they become a friend, they will be there and not  only to have a beer but also to help on whatever its  needed.Even if they don’t know the lady that is lost , the driver that doesn’t know is way, someone that left something behind, they will be glad to help and sometimes going beyond their limits just for the sake of doing it .

Imagine that you are driving on a portuguese road and the car that comes in front of you is doing light signals like morse code…..Yes….that’s a portuguese trying to warn other drivers about the police…..Its a common habit we have.

Portuguese in general are well informed people, even if the national media don’t give the best information sometimes, the portuguese never close themselves inside of a closet , discussing international politics, sports ,events, like if it would be their own.Its a very common characteristic . There will be no lack of interest on foreign cultures, even loving their own.

Portuguese have a sort of poetic dreamer contemplative background that somehow is different from other latin and mediterranean peoples. We don’t have the spontaneous noisy  latin way of interacting . We are in general more inhibited than the other southern ones by the feeling of ridicule and opinion of others.Strongly individualistic , easy to adapt in any given situation and with great sense of human solidarity. We are very critic within ourselves with a mocking spirit full of irony. Its not english humor for sure…All of this to say that we are cool….looool…..

Saudade, one of the words that better defines the sense of being portugues .Next article…….


Lisboa curious symbology

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So Lisboa post earthquake was built under a freemason  vision or not…

It is true that one of the architects that designed the project, the hungarian  Mr Mardel was known to be a free mason..Also the the head chief and prime minister was known to be a free mason.The Marques de Pombal.,

It is true as well  that if we start looking, we will find a lot of symbols spread all over the city specially downtown.

Also its true that those symbols have been existing way before the masonry as we know it today.So its possible that this elite sort of speak, took over these symbols to make it their own… or not….There are a lot of theories but what matters is that symbols mean something and depending on the context can be considered as signs or statements-hidden messages. Well  the cross  existed before christianity so…That gives us a lot to think..

So according to those that defend this idea, basically downtown is based on hermetics, secret geometry and  the golden number 0,618033989  often used by these ancient super evolved cultures, like the Egyptians or Mayans. I guess it has to do with order, symbolically bringing order from the sky-universe- to the earth. A mirror.

The fact that the total sum of the arches at commerce square , is equivalent to the sum of all  the tarot cards, is in fact curious. Tarot might derive from the sacred book THOT. The arches facing the river are 22 or major arcanes,the occult self realization, and the arches at the sides east and west  56,representing the minor arcanes , manifesting the profan.

So considering downtown as a temple,  the 2 columns by the river can be the entrance.

Like in Salomons temple….


The big arch at Augusta street supposedly has a deep meaning as well. Like Rome or Jerusalem, every single city built on 7 hills  is considered sacred by the divine tradition. So Lisboa it is not an exception having its arch of salvation . The one that comes from the darkness and enters the light or from death to immortality.

There are 7 longitudinal streets crossing 7 transverse streets intersecting with 3 squares.That gives us a total of 17, the 17th arcane, card of hope, the star .



Two of the three major streets  ,golden street and ,silver street according to the experts represent  the masculin element,the sun, gold,active and hot, versus the feminine element, the moon,silver, passive,cold.Both are columns on each side of  Augusta street , or ,to be more mystical, the sceptre of the greek God HERMES ,around which two serpents wind up with two wings at the top. So the center columns or Augusta street is the fusion of  two fundamental  energies from the universe. The polarities or yin yang if i may say so.




So  the sceptre  gives access to the 7 hills or 7 seals of Lisboa, meaning, LIS for FLOR DE LIZ symbol of mystery and the holy trinity,and , BOA from BOAZ a biblical personage from the old testament son of Salomon and great grandfather of Davi.


Ops…..the 7 celestial seals  are represented by  São Vicente hill , Santo André hill  , São Jorge , São Roque, Santa Catarina ,Santa Ana and Chagas de Cristo.


Portugal’s wine culture

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So Portugal a small country with 92000 km2 of surface with about 9 millions habitants, is the 10th world biggest producer of wine.

In Portugal, 250 different types of native grape trees are cultivated which is an outstanding number , taking in consideration the size of the country.In this case it’s not the size that counts, but the geographical localization, literally in front of the big atlantic ocean.

One of the most famous and authentic wine, is without a doubt the Port wine in the region of Douro river, in the north.

According to the historiens wineries started IN Portugal in the ii century Bc WITH THE ROMANS, in the center region, next to the Tejo river ,the one that passes along LisboA, the capital.

But….Roman empire vanished , and with it, also the wineries. Apparently Arabs and some other ethnic groups did not like wine at all…

As the christianity reclaims territory in Europe, the wonderful wineries reborn again after a long dark period. During the church religious  ceremonies, wine has always been very important. I believe it derives from the greek roman mythology,  Baco the God of wine, one of the oldest mythological legends of all.

But how come that Baco known by his bohemian life, sin, erotism,sex,  fantasy, is indirectly celebrated by the catholic roman church….well…..well…..

He must of been very happy when the christianity was finally replaced in Europa.looool

In portuguese language, there is a word considered slang that defines the act of having sex in a big group .  BAcANAL, which clearly derives from BAcO .

So a group with wine and sex, a BAcANAL, wine without sex, grapes and alcohol.  loooooooooool

changing subject…..

So basically during the manufacturing process ,  THE WINE, white red or green, must be kept away from the light within a  temperature  between 12 18 degrees celsius and frequently stocked inside of oak tree recipients.

Actually the green wine , it does not have such an intense green colour at all.It’s all about the region where it is cultivated in the northwest with lots of green in the hills. The wine can be ROSE, white or even red, with its winery fields spreading along 20 percent of the portuguese territory. can you imagine that…

Although the northern area of Portugal is well known for the wineries, it is actually  in the south in ALENTEJO, where we can find the classical winery production. The north is more about authentic and particular wine quality, and not so much for a big variety as it is in the south, with 22.000 acres of winery territory, with the biggest concentration of native wine tree species in the world.

Actually the first wine brought to Brazil was from the Alentejo region. Each time that the navigators and church where exploring new territories, tons of wine where stocked on to the ships to be consumed after, during the process-ritual of christianization of the colonized indigenous . Well……i must say that the wine must of been the most important weapon in those days…..loooooooooooooll…Imagine an indian drinking one sip of wine for the first time… OH YEAH…..cHRIST IS MY FRIEND INDEED…


Portuguese dog breeds


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Lets begin with the heaviest of all eleven portuguese dog breeds. The portuguese shepherd from Tras os Montes, a northern region in Portugal.

His origin goes back to the xix century and we can say that there was  man’s intervention in order to refine the breed. Weight can go up to 70 kg with almost one meter height. A small ponei i would say.

Unfortunately he his still not recognized by the world dog breed federation. Like the name says , he protects the cattle from wolves. It is mandatory that farmers within that area  prove that they have at least one dog for each group of 50  of sheeps, otherwise the state will not pay the farmer in case  of any casualty .


This one here, i think everyone knows this breed.Former  President  Obama has one . The portuguese water dog. Originally from the xii century….Altough it is not still 100 percent accurate but…..Its possible..

He belongs to the retrievers group of dogs, able to recover fish from the ocean waters.This breed was almost extinguished but today it is the most famous portuguese breed around the world.He has been commonly used in the region of Algarve in the south of Portugal.

Back in the old days, they used to be very important for fishermans , having the same rights as well. With his bravery he would recover fish from the water, and also, swimming from boat to boat to deliver messages , as there were no radios back then.

Recently in 1981 the water dog was considered by the guiness book, the world rarest dog breed.

Has he is genetically programed to socialize in big groups of people, leaving  him alone for long periods of time  can lead to depression and destructive behaviour.

The main reason why Obama has one is that his hair  doesn’t fall easily , and one of the Obamas daughter has allergy from dog hair.



This one is my favorite portuguese dog breed. Is also a shepherd dog more adapted to the mountain because he is very agile and resilient, unlike the others that are more heavy. His origine goes back to the xix century in the   region of  Minho close to Spain in the very north, and was named after castro laboreiro, a small village. Laboreiro derives from labor or work, and castro comes from the Roman latin word  crastro , meaning, fortress ,castle, walls. Romans have been in that area 2000 years ago.

Every single year the village of castro Laboreiro promotes a dog contest which is the oldest in the all of Portugal.They do this because they are very proud of this dog breed that consequently became a symbol to the region.

Until the 80s this dog breed was almost unknown amongst the portuguese but since then ,became famous because it started to be commonly used by the national guard and the portuguese marines as a search and rescue dog, police dog for interventions,or, simply to guard .

There’s a legend that says he is mixed with wolf which is perfectly possible.Believe me,i’ve seen his eyes from close .Plus , he was world champion in the 90s for an agility dog contest.



The portuguese perdigueiro or hunting dog….wow….his origin his well documented, and we can say for sure that this dog his as old has the foundation of Portugal . Perdigueiro derives from perdiz, a bird commonly found in the royal hunting fields since the medieval times until today.Back in the xiv century this breed was of extreme importance for the royalty, having achieved a high status , being perfectioned at the royal kennels and, frequently joining kings and queens on their hunting activities or just as  companion dogs seated next to the throne.

He is super efficient  at hunting birds and rabbits, with a perfect sense of smell and very very concentrated.Because of this, the King was forced to forbidden the use of this dog by the people, as they needed to feed their families and were using the Perdigueiro in the night to help them to get some food out of the royal land fields.

Also, the Portuguese navigators use to take Perdigueiros as royal merchandise to Japan, Brasil, India or North america.Later on , in xviii century with the arrival of  british families to Porto, for the winery fields, this dog breed becomes famous amongst the royal english family and has an important role on the development of the english pointer dog breed.

Until the 1980s he was very popular amongst portuguese, and, with time was progressively forgotten ,as people started to have different kind of dog breeds  to guard their houses and properties. A great sense of insecurity on those days….


serra aire

This portuguese rastafari is well known by his strong personality and very stubborn as well. He loves to guide the cheaps  through the fields , and he is a great conductor indeed .He might suffer from hiperactivity because he never stops until the work is done. His origins go back to xix century in  the southern regions of Portugal.

He has a very interesting nickname ….The monkey dog, because of the way he moves.