Fado is cathartic, and full of a longing to return to a place and time that never was. But, like anything about Portugal, there is a lot more there that you might think. Fado is often referred to as a Lisbon song, and that is not exactly true. The Fado, the oldest form of popular music still practiced in Europe, reflects the complex soul of the Portuguese. Neither sad nor joyous, the Fado is a song of "fallen souls, lost nights, strange shadows, love, jealousy, ashes and flames."
Portugal might be a small country, about the size of Maine, but it offers a big variety of food, artistic practices, music, and traditional crafts among many other things. We’ve put together a list of experiences that are bucket-list essentials of a trip to Portugal and that you won't be able to get anywhere else.
Every Thursday Barcelos becomes a magnet for traders selling everything from jewelry, clothing, tools, and pottery to food and vegetables.
6 Pottery Towns in Portugal
Fado is the most Portuguese of songs, and often the most misunderstood. Visitors think it is a sad song, but that is a half truth. In fact, Fado can be sad and nostalgic, and that is cathartic to the listener. Fado is a purge of strong emotions. And, so in that spirit, we look into the soul of this ancient musical form, and find the 5 most mournful of Fados.
Portugal is a nostalgic nation. And many fados from the 19th century looked back to a simpler time, when street sellers, know as Pregões, sold everything from fish to bread. Here are two of our favorites - one fondly recalling how black braids became all the rage in Lisbon - and the other a love letter to a lemon seller.
Portugal has no entrance exam. But it is sneaking up on 900 years of existence. Like a good glass of wine there are many flavors, and hues Last year we offered our tongue-in-cheek Portuguese citizenship exam. It gained a few comments, and stumped a few people. As a result, here is the 2nd round of “So you think you know Portugal.” And the questions just got a tad harder.
Portugal’s climate is largely influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, meaning that the north of the country is cooler and rainier, and moving south along the coast the temperatures get higher. The south is sunny and drier, and the heat can be more intense. The islands, Madeira and the Azores, have year-round Atlantic climates. So, the real thing determining the ideal time to travel to Portugal is the amount of tourists you will encounter, rather than the temperatures you might face
Fado is the song of those without luck, cursed by fate, and lost in a fog of the past. It is the song separation, of homesickness and longing. In Portugal, the Fado is sung not only in Lisbon but also from the Alentejo to Coimbra to Porto. And, wherever one finds a community of Portuguese, they will find the Fado, too. That is why the Fado can be a song of places – and in that spirit we have picked our five most haunting Fado’s of places and nostalgia. We call it Fado to Travel By…. These are Fados of longing for a place – full of the sadness of one who misses home.
So where can we find the traces of Moorish Portugal? Well, the first place is the language – many Arabic words remain in Portuguese. Words as simple as Bairro (neighborhood), cabide (hanger), sofá (sofa), marfim (ivory) and almofada (pillow). Oxalá - comes from insha’Allah, and means “God willing.”
One of the most popular songs to ever come out of Portugal got renamed, and it is a bit insulting. It started as a 1937 musical review tune by Raul Portela and José Galhardo - the team behind "Coimbra" and "Lisboa não sejas francesa." The song as a fado/march. But when Amália Rodrigues recorded it in the 1950's the unique melody caught on.