The Lively Portuguese Culture


Brooke Machado at 2020 festa wearing annual Portuguese cape.

Abigail Baker, Reporter

Along with many other cultures, Portuguese culture is recognized and celebrated in many unique different ways. Starting with festivals such as the festa where the incoming Queen is recognized and even to the special foods that are made the Portuguese culture shares a fascinating background and displays an interesting style of events.

Portuguese Queen and Selma High senior Brooke Machado shares some compelling information on the ways and significance of her culture.  

“It’s very similar to other cultures in the sense of special traditions like festas being celebrated, or the food we make. However, there is a really big emphasis on religion. Most Portuguese people are raised Catholic, so it is really embedded in our culture,” expresses Brooke.

She goes on to give an example of how they prepare for big events such as the festa. The week before a rosary is prayed nightly to bless the incoming queen and for a successful celebration. Brooke shares the significance of this by adding, “To me, celebrating my culture through festas is a special way to connect with my family and the people that come to watch and celebrate these traditions as a community.”

The Portuguese heritage is symbolized through the many varieties of unique foods and holidays that come around throughout the year. 

“A lot of our culture revolves around food, and certain times of the year, especially religious holidays. For Easter we make Portuguese sweet bread, on Ash Wednesday we make filhos, and for festa we have sopas or caçoila. Each food has a special meaning and it’s common for the animals used for festa to be blessed by a priest before they are butchered, ” says Brooke. 

She adds that, in her family, one of their favorite things to go to is the Portuguese Bull fights which is another event centered around the foods, drinks and watching a popular event from the Azores.

When asked what things are done to specifically celebrate the culture Machado talked maining about the festa and how major it is with showing the importance of their literature. 

Machado states, “It is an event that honors Queen Isabella and allows us to represent our culture up and down California. Not only is it a tradition in our culture, but a tradition that carries on with our family. Almost every year we have been included in a festa whether we are Queen or in someone else’s court.”

 Brookes experiences with her own festa as being queen and having her own friends be part of her court was special because she was able to share this part of her life with them that they may not have otherwise been exposed to or understood.

The many traditions and foods that hold significance through the Portuguese culture are what also define their differences and add unique qualities that should be heard and seen by others.