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- Moving To Portugal
Portugal is a Roman Catholic country through and through. Current figures show that over 95 per cent of the Portuguese population consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, and this religious attachment is seen in all areas of Portuguese life from the workplace, to holiday times, to personal and state moral and ethical codes. Religion has held an important role in Portugal throughout its history, and unlike in many other European countries, this is still the case in the modern day culture.
It is clear to see that religion plays an important role in family life, and in the weekly routine of many Portuguese people. Around one third of the population attends mass regularly, as well as taking part in many other important religious ceremonies throughout the year. Nearly all Portuguese residents are married in the church, and are baptized as children. Even if you are not a religious person yourself, it is still clear to see the effect that religion has on the everyday lives and ways of the population.
Although the church and the government are not directly aligned with each other, many of the countries customs, traditions, and laws have come about from the religious teachings of the Roman Catholic faith. Family plays an important role in the Portuguese lifestyle, and the strong family tradition and moral code comes from their close religious ties. Even for people who are not religious, this actually a very positive aspect to the Portuguese lifestyle, as morality and social responsibility are very important to the average person. On the whole, I have found that the children, and young people in Portugal are extremely polite and helpful, and they tend to respect their elders much more than in other places.
Understanding the way in which religion plays such a central role to life in Portugal makes it much easier to understand the ways and customs that you will experience. Public holidays are generally all due to a religious ceremony of some kind, and unlike in the UK, people are generally very unwilling to work on these days. The same is true on a Sunday in many cases, as this is traditionally seen as a day for spending time in church and with the family. To those who are unfamiliar with the customs of the country, it may appear as if people are lazy or old fashioned for not opening shops, or working on these days, but in actual fact it is due to a respect for their beliefs.