"My Dear Month of August"

on 9:13 pm

Well if you haven't noticed yet, Summer is here. More important, however, the month of August is just around the corner. We all know what happens in Portugal during the month of August: yes, that's right ... nothing. Since almost everyone in this country seems to go on holidays during this month, the country is left to run at half gas (insert your comment on who this country seems to runs at half gas all year around here). Lisbon in August, in fact, often looks a lot like this:

Now lets look at this from an anthropological point of view, and ask: what makes this country different during the month of August (beyond the aforementioned half gassing it)? And lets start with a typical image of what things often look like on August 1st:

That's right: the mad rush, but to where are all them folk going you ask? Well let us do it pictorially for you once again:

Looks familiar? That's right, it's the Algarve, the destination of many during the 'dear month of August'. It's the time of the year when the suburban middle-classes sticks the kids and the dog into their roomy Opel Corsas and off they go to Quarteira, to Armação de Pêra, to Monte Gordo or any other place that looks like their suburban neighbourhood back in the big city but instead by the sea.

Meanwhile, in the other empty depths of Portugal (at least during the other 11 months of the year), as in the interior regions where the majority of the people have had to emigrate, during the month of August, those who departed for other countries return home, turning the small villages of Trás-os-Montes, Minho, Beira Baixa, etc. into lively locations full of joy and fun and exotic languages. Typical of August in the província are the festas dedicates to the home-returning emigrants. Not only do the emigrants count down the days until August rolls around, those who await them do as well, because August means one thing and one thing only: festa na aldeia (partying it up in the villages).

So be it in the city, in the beach destinations of the Algarve, or throughout the aldeias of the country, August is meant to be different and no other month seems to substitute it. So this August, like any other August, Portugal will once again be posting up one of these:


Gabriel said...

Good old August, the month the country stands still.

Be careful on the roads everyone, the beginning and end of August are usually fraught with accidents.

Washington Guimarães - ワシントン ギマランエス said...

Blog interesting.I'm Brazilian guy of Portuguese descent (luso-brasileiro). I love Portugal because it is where my ancestors were born and raised.
Hugs from Brazil.

João said...

Hey Washington, thanks for the comment and thanks for checking out our blog. Great to see people in the diaspora checking out what we have to say.