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The Cultural Link between Massachusetts and Portugal

The Cultural Link between Massachusetts and PortugalFor a long time, Massachusetts was the first choice for Portuguese emigrants moving to the US. Many of these people were anglers moving to the US in search of greener pastures.

Massachusetts was a great destination for the Portuguese because of its many freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and access to the beach.  Today, at least 50,000 people in Massachusetts identify as Portuguese.

That’s why the state’s culture shares so many similarities with Portugal. Below are some of these similarities:

The Food

If you want to experience the best Portuguese food in Massachusetts, drive to the city of Fall River. While it’s not the largest city in the state, it is home to one of the largest populations of Portuguese-speaking Americans.

That means many restaurants in this city serve food with origins from Portugal or Brazil. Yes, Brazilian food has a strong presence in Fall River. After all, the soccer-loving nation was colonized by Portugal.

What Portuguese meals should you try out in Fall River? If you like baked food, try out queijadas (cheese and egg tarts), bifana (pork served with sautéed onions), or rabanadas (French toast).

If you're looking for a healthier meal with fewer carbs, ask for Portuguese kale soup. The locals call it caldo verde. It's a mix of potatoes, kale, and chourica sausage.

That being said, you don’t need to leave Boston to experience Portuguese dishes. Check out Casa Portugal, Portugalia, or Azorean restaurant for a variety of mouth-watering dishes prepared the Portuguese way.

The Love for Soccer

American football is the largest sport in Massachusetts. There’s no doubt about that. Still, soccer is an incredibly popular sport in the Bay State. In fact, MA trails only California in terms of states with the biggest interest in soccer.

California has three MLS clubs, 250+ youth soccer facilities, and more than 60 pubs that target soccer fans. Massachusetts has one MLS team—the New England Revolution. It's owned by Robert Kraft, the man behind the most successful football club in the country—the Patriots.

Although MA has fewer teams in the MLS, fans in the state love the New England Revolution. The team currently holds the second-largest attendance for a single MLS match—the 2002 1-0 to LA Galaxy. Over 61,000 fans showed up for the match.

Presently, the NE Revolution averages 20,000 fans per game. Attendance is expected to grow now that sports betting is legal in Massachusetts. The state legalized betting last year, 11 years after allowing casinos.

According to this gambling information, Massachusetts casinos only accept in-person gamblers. They don’t operate online. However, sportsbooks have been permitted to provide betting services through the Internet.

Shared Languages

Lately, a lot of Americans have been moving to Portugal to start a new life. They love Portugal because it’s cheaper than the US and has great weather conditions. Also, they don’t have to learn Portuguese.

Many Portuguese locals speak English, which makes it easier for Americans moving to the country to communicate. Of course, not everyone in Portugal understands English. But this can’t always be solved by involving a translator.

Another solution is to learn the local language. It’s a little bit harder to learn for people who only speak English. But if you have some knowledge of Spanish, learning Portuguese is easier.

Back in Massachusetts, Portuguese is arguably the second most spoken language. Americans might not converse in the language fluently. But with so many Portuguese influences in Boston, New England, and Fall River, many people in the Bay State understand a little bit of Portuguese.

The Way of Life

As we stated earlier, the first Portuguese immigrants in Massachusetts migrated to the state for fishing reasons. They emigrated from the Azores because the fishing hub had become overpopulated and jobs in MA were offering better rates.

Today, Portuguese citizens migrate to Massachusetts because they like America’s way of life. Similarly, many Americans are moving to the European country because it’s like a smaller version of the USA.

Sure, Portugal isn’t perfect. But it’s generally warmer than Boston. Some Americans moving to the country compare it to California. The weather is great while the lifestyle is cheaper.

According to the World Bank Data, Portugal is 50% cheaper than the USA on average. That means if spend $100 on groceries every week in Boston, it would cost you $50 in Lisbon.

Then there’s the Medicare aspect. In Massachusetts, healthcare is prohibitively expensive. By comparison, Portugal provides free medical access to all of its citizens. Lately, it’s also providing free healthcare to foreign dwellers.

Peace and Stability

If there’s something Americans love as much as the Portuguese do, it is peace and stability. Sure, Boston has its insecurity issues. Still, the state of Massachusetts is generally safe.

According to the Guardian, Massachusetts is the seventh most peaceful state in the US. It ranks in between Utah and Rhode Island and higher than both Washington and New York.

Across the pond, Portugal ranks in the top five of the most peaceful countries in the world. It ranks fourth to be precise, just below Iceland, New Zealand, and Denmark.

The USA ranks much lower in the index—122nd. The explanation is that it’s a much bigger country. And there has been a new wave of gun violence, leading to the low score.

The Work life

Depending on whom you ask, working in Portugal is better than in the US. For starters, you can open a business in Portugal within a week. In the US, you need weeks to get all the licenses needed to start a small business.

Secondly, the lifestyle in Portugal is not demanding. You can get by comfortably without having to overwork yourself. Many Americans moving to the European country work online.

Alternatively, they’ve been looking for expat jobs in Lisbon. The Portuguese city has been growing rapidly in recent years. In fact, it’s become a startup hub dominated by American investors.

With that said, American work life is a dream for many Portuguese immigrants. Jobs pay much better in Massachusetts. And for entrepreneurs, starting a business in MA gives them a chance to expand throughout the USA.



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