The Manuel Viegas Guerreiro Centre of Portuguese Folk Traditions, which is simply known as the CTPP, is a Research Centre belonging to the Faculty of Letters and integrated into the Lisbon University Foundation. The Centre of Portuguese Folk Traditions emerged from the former No. 4 Action Group working in the Geographical Studies Centre (INIC – the National Institute of Scientific Research) where its aim was to collect samples of Portuguese Folk Literature. Since then, it has managed to gather together and classify voluminous collections and samples of Portuguese Folk Literature and once again start publishing the prestigious Revista Lusitana, founded by Leite de Vasconcellos. The new series of the magazine, which has so far published 21 numbers, is engaged in editing number 22/23, making them ready for publication.
Owing to the burst of activity registered in 1993, the former No. 4 Action Group gave way to the present Centre of Portuguese Folk Traditions. Throughout the several decades in which it carried out on-going field work, the CTPP has managed to collect together a large number of texts related to Folk Literature all of which have been duly classified and filed in metal filing cabinets. Each of the different genres has been represented by rich collections of hitherto unpublished examples of poetry (4, 5 and 10 metrical rhymes called quadras, quintilhas and décimas, as well as stories, and nursery rhymes), prayers and blessings, proverbs, jokes, tales and theatre sketches. Moreover, the Centre also boasts of a significant collection of traditional music with songs recorded on tape.
The Centre’s impressive collection is being duly been registered, classified and digitalized. A large part of it has been made available to the general public by means of the Internet and as a result of the TECNOTRAD Project which has been funded by the Science and Technology Foundation (the FCT). All this activity has all helped to consolidate the CTPP’s presence and importance in the panorama of scientific and academic activity in Portugal.
It would be unthinkable not to mention the particularly valuable data the Centre has received from the Students’ Community Service programme carried out in 1975 under the leadership of the late Michel Giacometti with whom this Centre (at the time, still an Action Group ) worked very closely.
The Centre’s library has been the meeting place of many a student and specialist coming from all the different Portuguese State universities as well as well-known institutions from abroad, such as: Seville University (Spain), Poitiers University (France), the University of Paris-Nanterre (France), Baía University (Brazil), the Eduardo Mondelane University in Maputo (Mozambique) and Prague University (Czech Republic).
Bearing in mind its aims and purposes, the CTPP has accepted as its own, the term traditions according to the modern interpretation put forward by Adolfo Coelho, Leite de Vasconcellos, Jorge Dias and Viegas Guerreiro. The meaning of traditions covers not only the oral traditions but also the folk wisdom (know-how) and the art (craft) of local communities.