It just cannot be coincidence, the fact that I to a ninety nine percent never see a Portuguese person acting out as in being loud or using a lot of temperament. It just can’t. It must instead be an indicator that the Portuguese are a remarkably calm people.
Cause it’s not like I don’t see people getting annoyed or angry and letting the rest of the world know it, or on the other side of the spectrum showing their joy with loud cheers and laughter. It’s just that those people aren’t the Portuguese. They are Greek, or Italian, or French.
This would go well with the prejudices we commonly have about those mentioned cultures, loud, with a lot of temperament, talking with their hands. Especially for the Italian that would probably go as a born trait, and indeed when in Italy and speaking Italian, the use or not of hand gestures is a near certain way of knowing if someone is a born Italian or a schooled one.
But the Portuguese, they are remarkably calm. Both in voice pitch and body language. Portuguese is a language that contains surprisingly harsh sounds, but it is noticeable how soft and friendly the Portuguese speak it. Also the hand and body gestures are calm, if they are there they aren’t wild and fast arm gestures, they are rather facial expressions and tilting of the head. Which of course adds to the soft, calm and non intrusive feeling you get.
I gotta admit though I have actually seen and heard the Portuguese wound up and loud and happy or unhappy and cheering. In the context of football. But there only. But then on the other side quite loud.
I have heard it argued from many different sources that this calmness and friendliness is an ancient Portuguese trait of culture brought froward through the times. It is said that it was explored and deepened during the time of the Great Discoveries and thereon following Colonial period. It is stated that the Portuguese didn’t embark on those unknown territory voyages in order to conquer, like most other colonising nations, but instead that the Portuguese were business men sent out to negotiate and find opportunities to commerce. Because back home, Portugal was in famine and desperately needed foods and other goods. So the Portuguese merchants needed to use a friendly and calm approach in order to befriend people of the new lands they sailed to on their discovery travels. Because everybody’s more likely to do business with somebody they like.
It makes me wonder what came first, were the Portuguese from the origin of times a friendly, calm and peaceful people? Or were these traits developed because of a stinging need? The latter would sure fit into standard business theory, you develop from basis of your needs.
In any case, the trait of being friendly and calm for certain now is quite the mark of the Portuguese in any ex-patriate’s or tourists view, and for sure one of the things that makes it very easy to get into and live in the Portuguese society as a foreigner. It is very appreciated and deeply recommended.