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Portuguese cultural class series starts Wednesday
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The Manteca Parks and Recreation Department is again offering a Portuguese class geared for those of Portuguese descent who want to learn more about their history, or just anyone interested in knowing more about the culture other than festas and bullfights.

The nine-week Portuguese Cultural Class will begin on Wednesday, Jan.  5. Classes will be held every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Manteca Senior Center, 295 Cherry Lane, just behind the Police Department. Registration for the class is at the Manteca Parks and Recreation Department at 252 Magnolia Avenue in Manteca.

Interested in finding out how different cultures influenced the Azores, how a rebel tribal leader, Virathus, held  off the mighty Roman Army on the Iberian Peninsula, and why the inhabitants of Teceira, Azores like  their bulls and bullfights so much, and why the Portuguese have such a devotion to the Holy Spirit?

You can find out those answers and much more by taking the Portuguese Cultural Class offered from Jan. 5 to March 2.

Participants will learn the history of Portugal going back to pre-Roman days then to the first monarch, the golden age of discovery, and understand the reasons behind the immigration move to the USA, according to Mary Del Pino who is teaching the class.

Traditions, both cultural and religious will be a large focus of the class, she said. Traditional foods, dance and music will be explored.  Students will learn the “Chamarita” – a folk dance, and will have a Portuguese potluck where the main course will be provided and everyone brings their favorite Portuguese dish. The Portuguese language will be touched on, with some basic greetings and dialects reviewed, as well as the history of the language.

Those who are studying their family trees can get information on how to continue their research. They will also learn about prominent Portuguese-Americans and what the letters FESM and MRPS really stand for.

The class costs $50 per person for the nine-week session.  This includes all class materials, the cost of the potluck and the “Chamarita” dance lesson.  If you are not a resident of Manteca, the class will cost

$60, as there is a $10 non-residence fee.  No registration will take place after the second class on Jan. 12.

Course teacher Mary (Gomes) Del Pino is a certificated high school teacher. She speaks fluent Portuguese and is of Portuguese ancestry, both on her maternal and paternal sides.

She was the first editor of the “Luso-American,” the in-house publication for the Luso-American  Fraternal Society based in Dublin.  This will be the ninth Portuguese Cultural class that Del Pino has taught.