Our immigrant parents have done their best to keep traditions alive and if not for the efforts of our communities to keep that attachment to Portugal, we risk the fate of losing our culture altogether.

The fullness of time falls back on the history that preceded us, that’s why it’s essential to know our heritage. Recognising this inheritance, we can draw out pieces of ourselves that are worth keeping, to shape what the future looks like. We can perpetuate some traditions while others may become antiquated or even forgotten. Not everything is worth celebrating as it was conventionally.

Even still, what we recognise to be our identity is based on the upbringing we were taught. It brings to question the future and if the next generation cares enough about this Portuguese thing of ours. What will it mean to be Portuguese in North America?

We need to consider that it could look different than what we are accustomed to however that doesn’t make it any less genuine. For example, back home, festivals happen in the village streets whereas they typically take place in cultural clubs here. Undoubtedly, witnessing such an event feels uncanny to expats but the sentiment isn’t any less authentic, rather it's tradition reimagined.


Conventions from various regions carry on in different formats. Communities outside of Portugal have reinvented how we celebrate. As such, Luso-descendants can distinguish similarities like facing their own reflection on a sodden surface, especially within the larger dynasty of where they originated. From the continent to the autonomous regions and beyond, the diaspora continues to see an evolution of traditional festivals that devoutly uphold the values that unite the Portuguese.

In North America, it may all seem familiar for those experiencing it for the first time. Whether you enjoy the food, music, folklore, or the people, the culture could take you where you want to go. Some of us have never stepped foot in Portugal yet that unexplored terrain can still feel like our home away from home.

When you consider that there are as many Luso-identifying people outside the political borders as there are within it, the nation is as it ever was. Portugal is composed of colonies scattered abroad. The influence around the world is undeniable. Some aspects of the heritage are unremitting and it’s just as easy to go back.

We are all Portugal, as long as we want to be.

Instagram: @LusoLoonie

Website: LusoLoonie.ca/


Devin Meireles is a creative nonfiction writer in his thirties. He was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, where growing up around the Portuguese diaspora had a profound effect on him. 

Devin Meireles