Portugal is one of those countries that seem like a total mystery. It's not that it's not famous or anything, it's just that there's no other country quite like it. Though it's a relatively compact country on the coast of the island of the Spanish peninsula, it has amassed quite the influence over the years. And while Spain undoubtedly dominates it in terms of Alan territory, Portugal has definitely held its own over the years. You'll realize it when you go there and it the culture and customs are different. Its customs, especially, are what you ought to remember while you're there!
Maintaining Eye Contact When Greeting
Unlike those in neighboring countries—France
, and more—the Portuguese rarely kiss as a form of greeting. They mostly give out handshakes or light hugs. Many women kiss, yes, but it's not as common here as it is in other European nations. What is common here is that you should maintain eye contact when greeting another person, most especially when you're first introduced to them. Though it sounds creepy, it's actually the polite thing to do in this country. During first introductions, maintaining eye contact tells the other person that you're focused on him/her, conveying that you'll probably remember him/her.
Getting Invited To Be On A First-Name Basis
Though the Portuguese may seem like free and open people, you'll rarely hear them refer to each other by their first names. If you do, then that probably means that they're either family or they've gotten close to each other. Here in Portugal, first names are pretty important. Calling or referring to someone by their first names often means they've known each other better and for quite a while. If you want to call someone by his/her first name, you have to wait to be invited to do so. It's considered rude to call someone by his/her first name just casually.
Be Mindful When Giving Flowers
While giving flowers to someone in Portugal, as well as the rest of Europe, is common, you still have to be mindful about it. The Portuguese have their own etiquette standards when it comes to giving flowers. Firstly, you commonly give flowers to people who invited you over to their place. And you have to take into account how many flowers there are in the bouquet. Never give a bouquet with 13 flowers in it as it's an unlucky number in Portugal. You ought to not give red flowers either as it's the color of the country's historic revolution. That means 13 red roses are out of the question!
Food Is Always Eaten With Utensils
Whether it's a fruit, cheese, or even a slice of pizza, you always eat with utensils at the dinner table. If you're on your own at home or you're with your friends that you can let your guard down with, you can use your hands if you want to. But out in public or in someone's home, whatever it is that you're eating, you should use your utensils. It's not just fine dining etiquette, it's common culinary courtesy here in Portugal. Also, when you're invited to eat at someone's home, you don't start eating until the host/ess says 'bom appetite!'
Don't Discuss Business Matters in Social Events
Speaking of getting invited to someone's home, many Portuguese people consider it rude if you talk business in social settings. You're invited over because they want your company, not because you're working in a company or wherever your job may be. Even at business-related social events, business talk is at a minimum! Most people in such settings just want to have fun, perhaps get to know you more personally, and the like. They don't want to hear about work no matter how important or urgent it may be. Most especially when the gathering is in someone's home!
Don't Interrupt People In Business Settings
When you are in a business setting, however, never, under any circumstances, interrupt people. That's considered rude in the corporate world in Portugal. No matter how urgent your matter is, always wait until the person talking is finished. This is especially important during business meetings. From business executives to potential clients, everyone in the room will be offended if you interrupt people speaking. It's not far-fetched to say that doing so may cause you to be demoted or even fired! Simply wait until everything has been said and done and then speak up when there's no one talking anymore.
You may think you know all about Portugal and the Portuguese but you really don't until you actually go here. You'll find tha the country has very unique and special customs that you ought to follow when you're here, be it on a visit or you've relocated to the country.
Another important custom in Portugal you ought to follow? Getting yourself a luxury rental
to call home!