Congressman Jim Costa (D-CA) introduced a resolution to the 117th Congress (2021-2022), supporting the designation of June as “Portuguese National Heritage Month”.
“I’m honored to introduce this legislation that recognizes the significant contributions of the Portuguese Community to our society. Portuguese Americans have helped shape American culture and economic growth and I’m proud of their influence on our country. As the grandson of Portuguese immigrants, I know firsthand of the dedication to family, hard work and commitment to tradition that they hold so dear – values that we all share as Americans,” said Rep. Jim Costa.
For Congressman David Valadao, “As a Portuguese American, I am incredibly honored to be a member of a community that has contributed so much to the United States. The story of my family’s emigration from the Azores Islands of Portugal is truly one of the American Dream, and the over one million Portuguese Americans across the nation share a unique heritage rooted in community, perseverance, and pride. I am pleased to celebrate this heritage alongside my colleagues in the House of Representatives,” he said.
For many years, the Portuguese American community has been celebrating June as the “Month of Portugal” with many celebrations taking place across the country, coast to coast, in at least 12 states. From New England to California and Hawaii, the celebrations feature cultural, artistic, and popular events.
Although officially observed only in Portugal, as a national holiday, Portuguese resident nationals and Portuguese expatriates throughout the world celebrate Day of Portugal as a time to display their national pride and cultural heritage.
In the United States, many events will be taking place nationwide around June 10, officially marked as “Day of Portugal, Camões, and the Portuguese Communities” (Dia de Portugal, de Camões e das Comunidades Portuguesas), Portugal’s National Day, commemorating the death of Luís de Camões, Portugal’s national poet who died on June 10, 1580.
Luis Vaz de Camões (c.1524-1580) wrote ‘Os Lusiadas,’ Portugal’s national epic poem celebrating the memorable 15th century Portuguese historic achievements. The poem became a symbol of the glory of the Portuguese nation.
While Camões has been compared to Shakespeare, Vondel, Homer, Virgil and Dante, his epic poem is considered one the most important works in the Portuguese language and a most relevant world literature reference.
This year the President of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, announced that the celebrations of the Day of Portugal will begin in mainland Portugal, continuing with celebrations on Madeira Island.
It is estimated that over 5 million Portuguese nationals live abroad, about 1.4 million living in the United States, with a large percentage from the Azores. Presently, there are sizable Portuguese American communities in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, California, and Hawaii. The largest Portuguese American community, of about 350,000, live in California. The total resident population of Portugal is estimated at about 10,260,000.
For information on June Month of Portugal celebrations in your area check your local calendar of events.
Read the full H.Res 459 statement resolution by Rep. Jim Costa here.
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