Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to roam around and learn a bit more about Portuguese History. To find your interests, please, have a look at the right side of the page, where you can find all the posts arrenged into labels, such as "Society", "Politics", etc. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 30, 2013


As I said in a previous post of this month, this is a translation of period songs I found online of the National Library's website: http://purl.pt/742/1/mpp-21-a_1/mpp-21-a_1_item1/P6.html

The book was written about 1893, but it contains songs from earlier decades. I'm just transalting those I found more interesting; not necessarily from the time-period of the French Invasions.
And another one from the same library, but a different link, of a Napoleonic marching song.
This will be part 2.

TIA ANICA DE LOULÉ (Aunt Anica from Loulé)

Aunt Anica, aunt Anica,
Aunt Anica from Loulé
To whom will she leave
the hem from her “cachiné” (1).

Hello, hello,
this fashion isn't bad.
Hello, hello,
Aunt Anica from Loulé.

Aunt Anica, aunt Anica,
Aunt Anica from Fuseta,
To whom will she leave
the hem of the black skirt.
Aunt Anica, aunt Anica,
Aunt Anica from Aljezur.
To whom will she leave
the hem of her blue skirt.

Hello, hello,
this fashion isn't bad.
Hello, hello,
Aunt Anica from Loulé.

Aunt Anica, aunt Anica,
Aunt Anica from Alportel.
To whom will she leave
the hem from her “manteaux”.

Collected in Loulé, Algarve, by the most worthy, army officer F.F. Silveira.
(1) from the French “Cache-nez”.

And here's a video of how this song sounds and how it is danced:

by João Domingos Bomtempo, 1811/12, London, Clementi&Co.

Click on the image: http://purl.pt/832

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Marianne Baillie - Costumes in Portugal

I was just, a few minutes ago, given this wonderfull link to a digitalized book in our National Library.
It contains images drawn by Marianne Baillie of Portuguese people in the years 1821 to 1823.
Have a look, they are very interesting.


You can find on google books a few free downloadable pdf editions form the same author. To learn more about her, start at wikipedia:

Sunday, June 16, 2013


I've recently came across a link to the National Library's music log and found an endless treasure.
I'll be posting a few period songs, with translation, untill the end of the month and, perhaps even, add a few more to future posts, since I found several linked to themes I still want to write about.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
The only missfortune is that I don't know how to read or play music, or else....
This is part 1.
Note: The book you'll see on the photos containing the texts of the songs was written about 1893 nad it starts about here, followed by all the songs that this digital platform has:

Taken from the "Cancioneiro Geral".

(from the French “Vivandiére”)

Oh, what life that goes around on this earth
That doesn't hear the sound of the drum;
That doesn't sing at the hight of the war:
Oh love! Oh love! Oh love!

Who wants a true life,
Has to become at least once a Vivandeira.

Oh what life is this life I have
With such handsome, such gentil young man:
If I hug him after the battle
Oh what life for my heart!

What tenderness singing with the drum:
Oh love! Oh love! Oh love!

What harmony the riffles don't have
Knocking down the endless lines:
And after, only after the battle,
To see him safe, singing like this:

In your marches, being swarthy,
More I love you gentil Vivandeira.
The duties don't scare me,
Nor do the bullets make me cry:
Oh what life, what life, what life
This life spent singing.

I feel on the field the drum
Missing the tendurnesses of love.

Only in war the sorrow is killed,
Only in war you feel life,
Only in war the vanities are killed,
Only in war it doens't hurt to die.

Oh what life, what life, what life
What well chosen chance!

But let's leave the felted singing,
This singing of my heart:
But pay attention with our ears
O taplão, rataplão, rataplão. (Portuguese onomatopoeia of the sound of the drums)

To the taplão, rataplão falls down the drum
Falling down speacking of love.

Oh what life happens at war,
That from small on grew up in the war:
That alone goes around on this earth,
Nor father, nor mother has known.

Who wants to live a true life
Has to become a Vivandeira.

This poem appears around 1850(?) and with it the music.
Luiz Augusto Palmeirim.

Taken from the "Cancioneiro Geral".

(zas tras is a Portuguese onomatopoeia similar to the English “wham-slam!”; que te pilho is an old expression meaning “stealing”)

C English soldiers
don't wear hats;
D They wear shakos
that reach the sky.

C Záz-traz, I will steal you (you heart),
D And I've already stolen you (your heart),
C&D Come into my arms,
My love, my darling.

C English soldiers
wear cotton;
D I wear linnen,
it's cooler in Summer.

Záz-traz, etc

C English soldiers
wear red.
D I wear blue,
which is prettier.

Záz-traz, etc

Dance - 2 rows of pairs are formed; the ladies on one side, the gentlemen on the other. All advance and step back twice, then return to their places as the 4 verses are sung. At the chorus, the line with the gentlemen marches to the middle, driving characteristically the ladies, singing zaz-traz I will steal you, and turning to the right, turn their back to them and return to their palces, but the ladies start marching until they touch with their hands the men's shoulders and say I've already stolen you, and turning their back, return to their places, but the gentlemen having turned around already follow the ladies singing Com into my arms, etc and the ladies reaching their places turn around and hug the men repeating the verses Come, etc turning once and returning to their palces.
The music should be sung, alternatelly, by the ladies and the gentlemen as it is indicated with the leters C (gentlemen) and D (ladies).
The music of this dance, as the dance itself, is English, and seems to date around the beginning of the 19th century.

And here's a bit of this song I found oline:

Taken from the "Cancioneiro Geral".

O PÉSINHO (the little foot)

Origanilly it is danced with ladies and gentlemen, in uneven numbers, doing a circle and holdinh hands. Putting the right foot forward e steping with it's toe repetedly on the floor, a beat, songing the following song:

Put here,
Put here,
Your little foot
Put here,
Put here,
Next to mine
By taking,
By taking,
Your little foot.

(With this, the feet are removed)

A hug,
A hug,
I give him/her.


Oh Jesus,
Oh Jesus,
There I go.

And letting go of the hands, they embrace themselves in paires, and turning they sing:

I am ahppy with my dancing partner;
It was God's divine choice in giving him/her to me.

The person that stand alone, is said to be the widow for the next dance.

This dance, or “joguinho” (little game), as it is commonly called, seems to be form the early century (19th), or even older.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

c. 20th vs. c.19th clothing - not a lot of difference

 I just found this interesting page on Facebook and I thought to share it with you, even though it isn't from the time-period I set up to talk about on this blog.
Not only has it wonderful photos from early 20th century, but the purpose of the person, or the people, who created this page is as wonderful: they pretend to show popular Portuguese costume as it was, and not as folklore has made it over the years.
They state that today’s folklore groups haven't had much interest in accurately portraying the common working class. And I have to agree: or they only portray richer classes (like that FB page states), or, as I have seen in many folklore groups or shops that supply for them, an exaggerated and filled with fantasy type of garments, not speaking that they are all synthetic.
So, if you're interested in knowing how exactly the most common people dressed in Portugal at the turn of that century, please have a look.
My interest is to show that there are minimal differences in the evolution of the garments. Besides a pattern or two, a cut or other (blouses, skirts and trousers), the removal of the full length shift and, not to forget, the industrialization of the making of fabrics, there's not a lot to differentiate both of the time-periods.
If you have a look at the photos, it is as if one was looking at the common Portuguese during the Napoleonic Wars.
Below, 2 pictures I took from the said page, with the owners permitt.


Fishsellers, Francesco Rocchini, 1860

"Uma hospedaria na Serra de Alpedrinha", (an Inn  in the mountain range of Alpedrinha), 1901-1910, Joshua Bendiel

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Christians festivities of the month of June in 18th and 19th century Portugal I - Saint Anthony

There's this tradition in Portugal that involves towns and holy-men and festivities to celebrate them. They are called “festas populares” (poplar festivities).
Some say they're based on the attempt of the Christian church to erase pagan celebrations by swapping them with saints and holy people, but the fact is that there are 3 main saints that are celebrated in Portugal and are the cause of street festivities and a holiday for each town that chooses them to be their “santo padoreiro” (patron saint). These men are: Saint Anthony (celebrated by the city of Lisbon, on the13th of June), Saint John (celebrated by the city of Porto, amongst others, on the 24th) and Saint Peter (and Saint Paul, on the 29th). They are the most important saints of the Julian Calendar.

The Holy Inquisitional Court of Portugal authorizes a bull fight in the city of Lisbon on the 17th of September of 1778 to celebrate saint Anthony. Picture Taken of the mentioned book.

The one I'll be focusing more on today will be Saint Anthony and the celebrations that happen in the city of Lisbon, called “marchas populares” (poplar marches), followed by street balls in every quarter of the town, food and beverages.
Saint Anthony was a friar of the Franciscan Order, born in Lisbon, in the late 12th century and canonized after death in the 13th century by Pope Gregory IX, for his miracles. You can read more about his work on the internet. It is therefore that the city of Lisbon chose his protection and celebrates him each year with dances and singing on the streets, that today we know as “marchas populares” (poplar marches).
According to the book “A marcha é linda – Lisboa-o culto a Santo António, as marchas populares da cidade”, Carlos Caseiro, Ideias&Rumos, 2003, the origins of these marches may be the “danças do entrudo”, involving pranks, games and organized dancing and singing groups that would perform on the streets in front of the royal and noble houses of the city of Lisbon for “Mardi-Grass”, very popular in the Middle Ages, but definately with pagan origins. Some regions in Portugal have similar tradtions, ver particular to their region. I would suggest you would go on google images and tipe “Entrudo em Portugal”.
A later influence would be the French “marche aux flambeaux”, that introduced the candeled balloons and the dancing and marching in a square formation. These “marche aux flambeaux” has an origin in France after the capitulation of the crown and the yearly celebrations of the Bastille day. Soldiers would carry torches and march through the city of Paris followed by the people.
In 1787, Lord Beckford complained about these celebrations of the anniversary of the Saints death, 13th of June stating that the river was illuminated by several fires across the city heating the air and making it very difficulty to breath; that little fire-crackers were thrown on the ground scaring the donkeys and horses; that even the poorest house or street was decorated with flowers; that from sunrise to sundown all what the people seemed able to do was jump around, dance, sing and play the viola; that all that magnificence was starting to tired him and that he was sure he wouldn't be able to sleep unless Saint Anthony would perform a miracle.

(Violent) Games during the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, Augustus Earle, 1822, National Library of Australia.

There are innumerable websites on the internet that state this fact, but be aware!!! I have not found one that was accurate. The most common mistakes I found were these: they say that the origins of the “marchas populares” came from the Napoleonic Invasions, that, according to these websites, happened in the 18th century. Besides confusing the 1800 with the 18th century, they also attribute the modern festivities we know to the French. Not at all!!! The French Invasions happened in the early 19th century, the fall of the French crown in late 18th century and what the French brought to Portugal, when they invade it, was what I said above (fire and marching in a square). Celebrations involving Christian holy-men already existed in Portugal!!! It is only in 1932 (over a century later) at the modern “marchas populares” happen (on the 12th of June), organized by famous theater directors, actors and journalist of the time.

Photo o f the Poplar Marches in Lisbon in 1932. Picture taken from the book mentioned above. Funny enough, the men are dressed in late 18th to early 19th century clothing.

It is the joy of christian vs pagan celebrations and having an organized street party that the 1st Portuguese settlers took to Brazil and adding the native and the African influences, then later originated the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro. But this is all I'm going to say about this matter; I would need a whole different post to talk about that.