Today is Portugal Day!

Afonso Henriques, Portugal’s first king. He declared himself king (*not* the normal procedure in medieval Europe) and was pretty much the first Portuguese citizen.
Today in Portugal (and in many other countries) people celebrate the Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities.
June 10th is the day in which it is believed that the Portuguese poet Luís de Camões died – poor, forgotten and almost alone. In that same year, 1580, would begin the rule of the kingdom of Portugal by the Spanish king Felipe II.
A detail in the castle of Monsanto, a village which was once considered to be “the most Portuguese of Portuguese villages”.
It would take a small thesis to explain all the political implications regarding this day, so I’d rather just stick to the fact that it became a holiday for all things Portuguese. It’s supposed to be a day for celebrating, having fun and enjoying a day off.
I recently wrote about nationality and identity and what it is (if anything) that makes someone Portuguese. This is a subject that really interests me (from a cultural studies perspective) and the Portuguese communities deserve my respect and admiration.

I suggest you take a few minutes to celebrate this day! Maybe you can try some Portuguese food at your local restaurant? Or venture in making a Portuguese recipe? Perhaps you’ll spend the afternoon reading a Portuguese author or, who knows, listening to some Portuguese music.

If you’re curious about Camões almost all (if not all) of his works are now translated into several languages, English included, of course. I found an English version of one of his most famous sonnets (“Amor é fogo que arde sem se ver“) that I’ll share with you:
Love is a fire that burns unseen,
a wound that aches yet isn’t felt,
an always discontent contentment,
a pain that rages without hurting,a longing for nothing but to long,
a loneliness in the midst of people,
a never feeling pleased when pleased,
a passion that gains when lost in thought.It’s being enslaved of your own free will;
it’s counting your defeat a victory;
it’s staying loyal to your killer.

But if it’s so self-contradictory,
how can Love, when Love chooses,
bring human hearts into sympathy?

It just occurred to me that some day in the future I might see people wearing shirts saying “kiss me, I’m Portuguese”! 😀

Enjoy!

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2 comments

  1. Happy Dia de Portugal! So glad you included that sonnet in your article. Beautiful. I’ve always been curious about Camōes but never read any of his works. I’m looking forward to our Portugal Day parade later this morning, here in Toronto.

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