Portuguese Boys Activities



Figure 1.--This photo shows a group of Portuguese boys playing soccer in northern region of the country during the late-1950s. At the time in Portugal most children from low-income families went barefoot. These children may have worn shoes in everyday life. But none are wasting footwear to play soccer. Before World War II, poor children were less likely to play sports.

We have very limited information on Portuguese boys' activities at this time. Many activities were probably very similar to other European countries, especially neighboring Spain. One factor that made growing up in Portugal different than other countries was the endemic poverty in the country dating back to the time Portugl changed from being a European leader to its decline as the Inquisition and intolerance became firmly entrenched in national life. Portugal is a Catholic country and thus religious ceremonies like First Communion and serving as altar boys were of some importance. A factor in Portugal was the relstive poverty of the country. This impeded the ability of Portuguese children to participate in activities enjoyed by children in more affluent European countries. We do have some information on Poruguese schools. We know little about Portuguese choirs. Nor do we have much information on holiday celebrations in Portugal. We have some information on Christmas. Portugal is one of the poorer countries in Europe, although conditions have improved since the country entered the European Union. The country was primarily agricultural and children traditionally worked on farms. Boys might also work as shepherds. Sport has become more popular as economic condir\tions improved. Soccer is by far the principal sport. Portufal i a small country with avery long Atlantic coast and some beautiful beaches. We are not sure when they became a tourist attraction. but we see tourists there, including foreign tourists, at the turn-of-the 20th centyry. We also notice youth groups, including a nationlist group during the World War II era.

Poverty

We have very limited information on Portuguese boys' activities at this time. Many activities were probably very similar to other European countries, especially neighboring Spain. One factor that made growing up in Portugal different than other countries was the endemic poverty in the country dating back to the time Portugl changed from being a European leader to its decline as the Inquisition and intolerance became firmly entrenched in national life. Portugal's succes at the onset of the Eyropean maritime outreach was due to a combination of gography and technological innovation. Geography meaning an Atlantic coast and a promimity to the America and coast of Africa did not change. Technology did change. Portugal's closed Catholic di=ominated society did not encourage technological innovation. As a result, small Portugal and even larger Spain could not keep up with the rapidly innovating countries of northern Europe. s a result bith Portugal and Spain even with huge empires declined into poverty which was the case into the 20th century. The povery of Portugal was an importnt factor in boys' activities and the general childhood experience in Portugal. This impeded the ability of Portuguese children to participate in activities enjoyed by children in more affluent European countries. It mean that rather than school and ply, many Portuguese children had to work.

Beach Resorts

Portugal is a small country with a very long Atlantic coast and some beautiful beaches. There are beach resorts all along the Portuhuese coat. We are not sure when they became a tourist attraction. but we see tourists there, including foreign tourists, at the turn-of-the 20th century. This was mostly well-to-do people. Large numbersof middle-clastorists do not come until after Wrld War II. British tourists were some of the girst to come to Portugal im numbers begonning in the 1960s. Most visitors to Portugal from an early point go to Algarve, and commonly they don't leave their resorts to explore the country. The Algarve means, 'the west' and is derived from arabic showing the coutry's medieval Muslim history. 'The west' means the west of the Iberuan peninsula. But the Algarve is the far southern region of Portugl, just west of Gibraltar. The region has as its administrative center in the city of Faro. Tourism and related activities are extensive and make up the bulk of the Algarve's summer economy. The Algarve is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal, and one of the most popular in beach resort areas in Europe. Some 10 million people visit the Algarve annually, more than half foreign tourists. There are beautiful beaches to the north, but the Algarve is the most popular area.

Choirs

We know little about Portuguese choirs. Nor do we have much information on holiday celebrations in Portugal.

Holidays

We have some information on Christmas.

Religion

The primary religion in Portugal is Roman Catholic Christianity. This has been the case the Chrstianization of the Roman Empire (4th century AD). Small numbers of Jews settled in what is now Portugal presumably during the Roman era, but actualn hisyorical references only dte bavk to the Muslim era. . The Muslim invasion (8th cntury) meant that Islam appeared in Portugal. There was considerable tolerance and inter-marriage during the Musim era. Portugal was one of the first Christian kingdoms to develop as part of the Reconquista. There was at first an impressive degree of religious yolerance which slowly declined as the Recinquista progressed. After the fall of Granada to Spanish forces, both Jews and Muslims were expelled (1492). The Inquistion attempte to purify Portugal of Jewish and Muslim influences. The impact on Portugal was stultifying going far beyond the small Jewish and Muslim poplation. Portugal and Spain which had led the European maritime outreach (15th century) as well as the conquest and Christinization of the New World. The Inquisition, however, turned Portugal and Spain into European backwaters. The Church and momarchy worked together to create a very conservative, closed society. A chrch faces a givernment building across virtyally every town and village main square, a power structure repeated in Brazil. Portugal like Spain was largely unaffected by both the Protestant Reformation (16th century) and the Enlightenment (18th century). Portugal began to change (20th century). The church and state were officially separated during the First Republic (1910-26). The Roman Catholic influence cultural influence is still pronounced. Portuguese festivals, holidays and traditions have a strong Catholic imprint. Most Portuguese today are Roman Catholics at least culturally. As in most of Europe, there has been a general de-Christianization of society. Spme 85 percent of Portuguese identify as being Romn Catholicm although relatuvely few even irreglarly attend church. They still want to be baptised and get married in church. And many Portuguese have First Communion celebrations. Boys and now girls assist priests as altar servers during the mass. There are some regional differences. Church attendance is much more common in the north than in the south.

Schools

Education in Portugal was for years dominated or perhaps better explained, limited by the Roman Catholic church and the conservsative monarchy. Portugal led the European outreach in the the 15th century, but gradually was overwealmed by larger and more powerful maritime states. The Catholic Church and Inquisition prevented the Protestant Reformation from reaching Portugal. Portugal became a backwater of Europe. This also meant that there was not real consideration pf public education until the 19th century and only limited steps even in the eatrly 20th century. The Church for centuries kept a time reign on education. Portugal did not begin to build a modern education system until the Carnation Socialist Revolution (1975). We do not know a great deal about Portuguese schoolwear, but since the 19th century, many children wore smocks.

Sport

Sport has become more popular as economic condir\tions improved. Soccer is by far the principal sport.

Work

Portugal is one of the poorer countries in Europe, although conditions have improved since the country entered the European Union. The country was primarily agricultural and children traditionally worked on farms. Boys might also work as shepherds.

Youth Groups

Portugal like Spain during the 1930s moved strongly towards Fascism. António de Oliveira Salazar, seized control of Pprugal (1932). The Salazar regime was aithoritarian which gradually took on Fascist trappings, especially after the advent of the Spanish Civil war (1936). The Goverment issued a decree establishing a nationalist youth group--the Mocidade Portuguesa (Portuguese Youth) (May 1936). We believe the Boys Scouts were banned, but do not have detaols at this time. Prof. Marcelo Caetono was apointed the group's leader (1940). The regime was officially neutral, but was sympathetic toward the NAZIs and aided the NAZI-war effort during World War II. Somewhat protected by Franco's refusal to allow the Wehrmacht to enter the Ibrerian Peninsula, Portugal was able to maintain a different relationship with the NAZIs. The NAZis had to actually pay for shipments of strategic minerals. The group's motto was 'Deus, Pátria e Família' [God, Fatherland and Family]. There were four echelons according to age: lusitos ( 7 to 10 years), infantes (10 to 14), vanguardistas (14 to 17) and cadetes (17 up). Their uniform consisted of a green shirt with badges on the left side of the breast, beige shorts and black shoes. A reader writes, "I have never come accross them in Portugal proper but I have seen some boys (black and white) in Angola during 1967 and 1968. They all had short pants, but I believe at the time that in metropolitan Portugal the older boys wore longs." Caetono who led the Mocidade since 1940 who became the acting Portuguese head of state after Salazar was incapacitated by a stroke (1968), The Mocidade were abolished on the very first day of the Socialist Revolution (April 25, 1974). A book Mocidade Portuguesa: Breve história de uma organização salazarista (1976) published after the Revolution seems to give a good account of the history and the activities of the "Mocidade".







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Created: 1:26 AM 9/22/2011
Last updated: 5:23 AM 11/30/2017