8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese

8 Ways You Know You're Portuguese

From a 100% Pork Chop

Growing up having Portuguese descent from both sides means a double dose of the culture, traditions and mannerisms. I’m so Portuguese that my parents even had the same last name before they got married because it is such a common name in Portugal. So over the years, here’s what I’ve accumulated as the telltale signs that you’re Portuguese:

1. You put onions in everything.

According to my mom, the reasoning for this is because “onions make everything taste good!” Seafood is the token of Portuguese cuisine, so a popular, traditional Portuguese meal like baçalhau (codfish) would not be served without thinly sliced yellow onions. Garlic is also widely used.

2. If you’re female, Maria is somewhere in your name.

Two of my dad’s three sisters first names were Maria and the other one’s middle name was Maria. When they immigrated to America from Portugal, the two Marias changed their legal first names to their given middle names. For example, Maria Veronica would become Veronica Maria. This is not just my family, this is a widespread practice across Portugal because the Portuguese are very religious and the name “Maria” refers to the Mother Mary.

3. You talk loudly.

This is not just an Italian thing. Perhaps it’s also because my family immigrated to the East Coast, so we’re all New Yorkers and New Jerseyans, but I’ve had friends come over for family parties and be totally wiped out by the end of it just from all the noise. Portuguese people have a way of sounding like they’re mad or yelling at you, but when you say “stop yelling at me” they just say at an even louder volume, “I’m not yelling, I’m just talking!” It’s quite the adjustment coming from a family with very few relatives or as an only child and marrying into a big Portuguese family. Kudos to those who can handle it.

4. You don’t believe Brazilian Portuguese is real Portuguese.

This is a long-standing controversy. The Portuguese language from Portugal is totally different from the Portuguese language in Brazil. Not only are there different catch phrases and accents, but there are just different words entirely. When I worked in Disney World, my name tag indicated that I spoke Portuguese, but that doesn’t mean I was equipped for the hordes of Brazilian tour groups. I would call my mom asking what a certain word that they would use meant and she would click her tongue and say “must be a Brazilian word, that’s not Portuguese.”

5. People ask why you’re white.

You don’t realize how uneducated people are about Western European geography until you tell them you’re Portuguese. People seem to forget that Portugal in Europe is a country and think that Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country and furthermore, they seem to think all or most Brazilians look Hispanic. It’s even funnier to see the look on people’s faces when I tell them my father was born and raised in Western Africa (in a Portuguese colony) and they have a total Karen from “Mean Girls” moment.

6. People think you’re Italian.

A lot of Portuguese surnames start with ‘de’ just like a lot of Italians. However, ‘de’ in Portuguese means ‘of’ and ‘of’ translates to ‘di’ in Italian. Since most people don’t know the difference and since New Jersey is the state with the third highest percentage of Italians, and being that we share the conversational volume control problem, people just assume we’re Italian.

7. You have at least one decorative rooster in your house.

The “galo,” or rooster, is a very common emblem of Portugal. From what I counted, we have five in my house, but I’m sure there are more tucked away. I actually didn’t know this until I looked it up, but it is called the “Galo de Barcelos” because it is crafted in that city and it celebrates the legendary tale of a dead rooster proving the innocence of a man who was sentenced to death. This is the souvenir you take home if you make a visit to Portugal.

8. You’re told you’re fat, but then encouraged to eat.

I can’t tell you how many times throughout my life that my grandmothers have insinuated that I’ve gained weight, but then got offended when I passed up on their food. Portuguese people take their food very seriously, to the point where it’s almost a sign of disrespect if you don’t eat it. And there’s no such thing as moderation. If there isn’t food on your plate because you already finished it, go back for seconds or thirds. Food should always be on your plate. Onions and all.

Popular Right Now

College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

A Poem: My Mother

In honor of Mother's Day, that was on the 12th, here is a poem dedicated to my mother.


To the only person who can be my mentor, friend, and leader at the same time

To someone who would make me read my own books before bedtime

And puts everything down to make sure there is a smile on my face

To the person that I find impossible to ever replace.

Somehow you are always right even when it seems wrong

And when the worst does happen, how do you still manage to stay so strong?

I'm not only impressed but inspired by you

Knowing that somehow you'll always know me better than I do.

When I'm frustrated and annoy you, you simply try to understand me

Because you have always told me that even when you can't understand, plain acceptance is the key

You have listened to all my laughs, heard me cry, and felt my emotions like they were your own

You are the only reason I am joyous and the security I need to know that I am never alone.

To the only person who has truly taught me how to live

And watched me grow and make mistakes yet still knows how to forgive

Because that's who she is, certainly not like any other

There are many women but none like my own mother.

Happy Mother's Day!

Related Content

Facebook Comments