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Home› Cultures› Portugal› Cultural Differences› Religion


Comparison of differences in religion between Portuguese and U.S. majority cultures

Portuguese Culture American Majority Culture
Roman Catholicism is the declared predominant religion. However, many other religions are represented in the country. Godparents (padrinhos) have special connections to the sponsored child and family. Azoreans are deeply devout and have their own religious traditions within the Catholic religion.  The most important Azorean religious tradition is the Holy Ghost Festival. (Library of Congress, n.d.)  The largest celebration in New England is Grande Festas do Divino Espírito Santo (n.d.)In California The Holy Ghost Festas (The Portuguese-American. . . , n.d.) is another example.
Protestantism is the predominant religion. Many religions are represented in the United States with services conducted in a variety of languages.
Religious symbols are often displayed in public buildings, including public schools. There is separation between Church and State. Religious symbols are not displayed in public buildings, including public schools.
Parents may feel obligated to take children to religious observations in the homeland during school time. Children will generally not miss school to attend religious observations.
There is freedom of religion. However, religious celebrations may influence or be associated with certain areas of teaching. Classrooms may display religious symbols such as the cross. Religion does not interfere with teaching in the public school setting.
©2005 Maria de Lourdes Serpa.
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