Explore Portuguese-Speaking Cultures

This content was submitted by the Portuguese Speaking Cultural Society , a student organization of James Madison University. They represent themselves as well as local artists and businesses of Portuguese-speaking cultures. Their aim is to share, experience, and celebrate Portuguese-speaking cultures around the world. These cultures are most prominently present in Europe (Portugal), South America (Brazil), Africa (Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, St. Tomé and Principe, Guinea Bissau and Equatorial Guinea) and Asia (East-Timor and Macau), and in several diasporas around the world.

Non-JMU students can attend PSCS events! When quarantine/lockdown eventually lifts, they plan on partaking in events such as viewing Portuguese language films (w/ English subtitles), trying food from Portuguese-sepaking cultures, playing traditional card games, and even playing soccer with other cultural student organizations. This semester, they plan to host online events, potentially including but not limited to viewing films, trivia events, and social events. Visit their events page  for upcoming activities and RSVP for them!

Portuguese Speaking Cultural Society

left to right: Tanna Walters [vice president], Professor Valnora Leister [professor of Portuguese language & culture at JMU], Dr. Brent Cunningham [faculty advisor], and Ben Irwin [president]


South America’s largest country, Brazil is an amalgam of peoples, cultures, and flavors. Discover the national drink – cachaça laced caipirihnas, street food, bubbling clay pot seafood stews, and Brazilian steakhouses called churrascarias.


Want a quick primer on Brazilian cuisine?  Here are the Top 10 Foods to Try in Brazil.

Guaraná is a delicious Brazilian soft drink (flavored by the guaraná fruit) that you can find in the US in international supermarkets. Guaraná Antartica is the most popular brand.

Learn how to prepare the classic Brazilian cheese bread with Fogo de Chão. This video was part of Brazil Week 2020. a week long celebration of Brazil’s Independence Day, September 7, 1822.  Find more authentic Brazilian recipes on Embassy of Brazil’s Facebook page. 

Recipes submitted by Ben Irwin and Dr. Cunningham to try at home! Click the image to view/print recipe.

Brazilian/Portuguese restaurants & markets recommended by PSCS

Espresso Portuguese Grill – Manassas, VA – Says Ben Irwin: “Espresso Portuguese Grill is a Portuguese restaurant my family and I have been to multiple times. I would recommend it to any fans of Portuguese food or people interested in it!”

The next two are Brazilian steakhouses or “churrascarias”. The specialty of a churrascaria is the variety of churrasco-style meats, which are brought to your table for as long as you have your indicator flipped to green. In this way, churrascarias are an all-you-can eat style experience. Fogo de Chão is an expensive chain but is a high-quality experience. The Charbroil Grill is somewhat less expensive, but also has great food. Ben says he has have been to and recommends both.
The Charbroil Grill – Woodbridge, VA
Fogo de Chão  – Washington, DC

Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine – Roanoke, VA

European Foods Import Export Inc. – Arlington, VA


Pablo Regis is a cavaco and guitar player, singer, and percussionist performing Brazilian music in the DC metro area. He grew up in Los Angeles and Brasília, surrounded by Brazilian music and culture. Over the years, he has worked with numerous Brazilian musicians and organized events and concerts to bring Brazilian music United States. He is a recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council 2018 Individual Artist Award. He has also trained in a variety of Brazilian movement styles, including the martial art of capoeira, and frevo and cavalo marinho from the state of Pernambuco. Pablo also brings professional experience in communications and marketing.

Virtual Performance Series


Traditional Celebrations

Festa Junina (June Festival) is a Catholic tradition that takes place in June (and sometimes July as well) to celebrate saints and new plantation seasons. This tradition was brought to Brazil through Portuguese settlers. At the beginning, the celebrations were pretty similar to the Portuguese ones but over the years Brazil developed a unique type of celebration with regional expressions and idiosyncrasies.

This festivity usually takes place at a grand tent made of raw material that was once commonly used for special festivities in old rural areas. Men and women dress up as farm rural people, with large straw hats, fake freckles, painted gap teeth and women wear pigtails. This is a tribute to the origins of Brazilian country music.

The cool winter calls for bonfires, traditional dances, rich food and our traditional quentão, which is boiled red wine with cinnamon, clove, ginger, sugar, orange and cachaça.  Corn, pop-corn, canjica (a sweet dish made of corn, coconut milk, condensed milk and coconut sprinkles), pamonha (also made of corn), pine nuts are some of the typical festa junina’s food. All the things served during the festivity (except for the pine nut) are usual itens of the grocery store, but suring the June festivals, they are more common.

Dances are an important part of the Festa Junina. The quadrilha (quadrille, a dance that was fashionable in late 18th century Europe and its colonies) is a vital component of the party. It can involve up to 30 people dressed in colorful vestments, while a chosen “bride and groom” act as the center of the spectacle.( source https://brazilianexperience.com/festa-junina/)


A good source of books in Portuguese: Buobooks



Portugal, officially The Portuguese Republic, is a country in southern Europe, founded in 1143, occupying a total area of 92,212 km2. The mainland is located on the southwest of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering Spain to the north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and south.  Learn more about Portugal on the Embassy of Portugal website.


Cindo Santos is a songwriter, performing artist, and producer based in South Florida. With his voice, acoustic guitar, and electronic tracks he delivers a contemporary Pop sound that appeals to both the club goer’s body, and to the listener who appreciates insights into the human condition.  Born in Portugal and raised in the Americana ways, his songwriting arsenal comes from having experienced the geography of cultures from Santa Barbara to Stockholm, Staten Island to South Florida, Ohio to the Mississippi Bayou, Santo Domingo to Rio de Janeiro.

His music is like a vintage, fortified wine, with undertones of some blues-man waking up in the mornin’, the sensual abandon of The Doors, the every man of Johnny Cash, a bit of Lou Reed’s attitude, the singer/songwriter aesthetic of James Taylor, the hard rain of Bob Dylan, the salty air of Jobim’s Ipanema Beach, and the abandon of EDM. His Dylanesque lyrics,  of nonjudgmental observations of personal and social events, offer a voice for this overloaded, even jaded generation. It’s fun and smart Pop.

His first single was out Nov. 3rd, 2019 –  one year ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. It’s a Pop Trap anthem that resonates with the times. The issues and angst are all there, but the wording and delivery is all Cindo Santos. His first EP, aptly called 2020, drops next month – just before the US election!! And will establish him as an artist who is both breezy and consequential.


Monday 14th, 6 – 7 PM  on our Facebook Group
Saturday 19th, 6 – 7 PM on our Facebook Group


Photos and descriptions contributed by Ben Irwin.

The Oceanário de Lisboa is an oceanarium in the Parque das Nações in Lisbon. They have a stunning array of aquatic animals and take expert care of them all. You can see and read more on their site: www.oceanario.pt/en .