Portuguese traditions of celebrating love

Portuguese traditions of celebrating love

Love doesn't need celebrations would say some. On the contrary others value the celebrations they give to their love.

Fernando Pessoa wrote a poem called "Amo como o amor ama" (I love like love loves).

Amo como o amor ama
Não sei a razão pra amar-te mais que amar-te
Que queres que te diga mais que te amo
Se o que eu quero dizer-te é que te amo?

I love like love loves
I don't know the reason to love you more than to love you
What do you want me to tell you more that I love you
If what I want to tell you is that I love you?

In this excerpt, Fernando Pessoa speaks of love with an emphasis on repetitions. In four verses, he expresses to us the anguish of loving too much and the difficulty of communicating this intense feeling. So why bother celebrating Valentine's Day?

Perhaps just to offer something when words escape us... In Portugal, for a very long time, traditions were more about winning love than celebrating it.
Today, these objects which served as messengers are still in the daily life of the Portuguese, more as memories and traditions of the past.

1. The valentine's scarf

This genuine tradition that dates back to the 18th century originates in Minho and has become a national symbol.
Made of linen or cotton cloths, the scarfs are cheerfully embroidered with floral motifs, symbols of love: hearts, flowers, birds... all in a farandole of colours.
Originally, they were embroidered by young girls from rural areas, from the Minho region, who thus declared their love in the form of a code.
Once embroidered, the handkerchief was sent secretly to the loved one and if he wore it in public, it was a sign of reciprocal love, thus marking the beginning of a relationship. If the feeling was not mutual, the handkerchief was returned to the girl.

Valentine's scarf Portugal tradition Lenço dos namorados tradição do Minho

2. Valentine's Spoons

This tradition has roots in a market that took place in Vila do Conde, district of Porto since the 17th century.
Like the embroidered handkerchiefs, the decorated wooden spoons served as a pretext for a court request, containing brightly coloured designs and verses intended to bring couples together.

Today this tradition has almost disappeared but vestiges of very beautiful spoons can be seen on display at the Vila do Conde Memory Center.

You can also order one of the new generation at: https://www.instagram.com/p/CZ9NkmbrV8t/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Colher dos Namorados Mal Barbado Valentine's spoon Portuguese tradition

3.  The Valentine's Cantarinha 

Similar to a water jug, but decorated with notes in high relief and dusted with mica powder, the making of the Valentine's Cantarinha continues at least from the 16th century to the present day.
In the 19th century, the "cantarinha" began to be appreciated by the elites to represent the popular art of Guimarães and to be part of the bucolic spirit lived at the time. 
In the first decades of the 20th century, the “cantarinha” was often offered by the boyfriend to his girlfriend, when proposing marriage. The piece was intended to save the money that the bride managed to save. Another version states that the “cantarinha” would serve to store the gold gifts offered by the bride's parents.

 Cantarinha dos Namorados The Valentine's cantarinha Portuguese tradition

4. The Valentine's Rock

Legend has it that around Easter, women in their twenties headed to the Rocha dos Namorados.
From behind, the women had to throw small stones on the rock and, for each stone missed, there was a year of waiting until their marriage happened.
The rock is linked to pagan rituals and still works as a spiritual force for the local population of São Pedro do Corval, Reguengos de Monsaraz in Alentejo. The power the rock is related to fertility celebration phenomena and, on Valentine's Day, it is sought out by both singles and married men and women.


Celebrate the love in your everyday with Luz Editions. Spoil yourself or others with our novelty: the Amor mug

Amor mug to drink tea or long coffee



Sources: N Culture, A Oficina, Roteiro do Alqueva, 
Pictures: Google

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