Portuguese Name for Grandmother

Names for Grandmothers and Grandfathers Are Similar

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Portuguese grandmothers can be called by several different names. Photo © Thomas Tolstrup | The Image Bank | Getty Images

The most commonly used Portuguese name for grandmother is avó. Variations are avozinha, vovó or just vo.

Both grandmothers and grandfathers are referred to as avo, but the pronunciation is different. Avô for a grandfather is pronounced "a-voh," with the variant vovô being pronounced "vo-voh." Avó for a grandmother is pronounced "a-vaw," with the variation vovó being pronounced "vo-vaw."

Grandmothers in Portuguese Culture

Traditionally, Portuguese culture has been very patriarchal, due to the influence of the Catholic church and a government that was not progressive.

Women had very few rights, but they were still powerful within their family units. Following the coup of 1974, sometimes called the Carnation Revolution, women gained rights that were more nearly equal and began to enter the modern age.

Some Portuguese Traditions

Grandparents and other extended family members are important in Portuguese culture, although a network of friends is also prized. Because Portugal does not have a lot of social services for its citizens, kinfolk and friends play important roles in child care and elder care.

Social skills are highly valued in Portugal, and such traditions as using a polite form of address are still very important. The Portuguese are said to be indulgent toward their children, but they expect them to display good manners.

Portuguese Cuisine

When the Portuguese talk about their grandmothers, they almost always mention food. Although Portugal is a very small country, it contains a variety of geographical zones, so is home to a variety of crops.

Also, the Portuguese seafaring tradition means that the people of this very small country were exposed to cuisines from many other places. As a result, Portuguese cuisine is rich and varied. One dish, for example, combines pork and clams.

Portuguese cuisine makes heavy use of cinnamon, paprika, cumin and a hot pepper known as piri-piri.

 Coffee and wine, especially port, are favorite drinks.

Holidays, especially Christmas, are enthusiastically celebrated in Portugal. The major Christmas meal is usually consumed on Christmas Eve, and it is traditionally a meatless meal, with salt cod or another fish dish serving as the main course. A favorite holiday dessert is Bolo Rei, or King Cake, which contains coins or trinkets and is customarily consumed on Epiphany.