In recent years, there has been an uptick of interest in Brazilian culture: from food to the music, dancing and of course, Brazilian football.
If you’re new to this exuberant culture that’s full of life and passion, read on for some curiosities about Brazilian culture that you may or may not be aware of.
1) Brazil itself is multinational. Brazil is more of a ‘melting-pot’ than you might think. People from all over the world have either emigrated there by choice, or their ancestors were brought over as slaves. Regardless of origin, those who have moved to Brazil have added much to the culture.
2) Expect tactile greetings. Brazilians, by nature, tend to be demonstrative and affectionate, so if you are female, expect to be kissed on both cheeks by another female. Males will usually shake hands on greeting.
3) There is lots of variety to the music. While Brazil is famous for the sensual beat of the samba, there are lots of other genres of Brazilian music to be explored. Reggae, of course, is among those genres, as well as bossa nova and sertanejo, a genre that is somewhat equivalent to the country music trend in the United States, but with a South American flavour. If you like the Afro-Caribbean sounds, then Axe (ah-shay) might be for you.
4) Brazil is passionate about football. While many countries around the world enjoy this sport, it could be said that Brazil is among the most passionate about the game. After all, Brazilian football gave the world Pele, the country’s most famous player, among others. You could easily say that this is one of the reasons, apart from the Brazilian beaches, why Brazilians are known for being loud and happy people
5) Brazil is the place to be for beautiful beaches. One of the best beaches, according to TripAdvisor, is Baio do Sancho, which is part of an archipelago called Fernando de Noronha. Twenty-one islands form a marine park full of stunning ocean life.
6) Rio de Janeiro is no longer the country’s capital. Despite what you might have heard, Rio is no longer Brazil’s capital. That honour belongs to a city called Brasilia, which was built in just 41 months—just over three years.
7) Brazil once played host to fleeing Nazis. After WWII, a number of Nazis fled Germany and headed to Brazil, including Josef Mengele, who had earned the dubious moniker of ‘The Angel of Death,’ thanks to his cruel experiments. He also had a strange fascination with twins, and there is an area of Brazil that has had a high rate of twin births called Candido Godoi, but any attribution of that high rate of twin births to Mengele has since been disproven
8) Sao Paulo’s reputation is dual-edged. This city has the highest GDP in the Southern Hemisphere. By contrast, however, it also has the worst traffic jams, becoming one of the biggest sources of congestion in the world. So while it might be an attractive place to live with a decent standard of living, it is also one of the most crowded at rush hour.
9) The Statue of ‘Christ the Redeemer’: one of the New Seven Wonders. If asked to contemplate the religious life of many Brazilians, you’ll likely think of the big statue of Jesus overlooking Rio de Janeiro. It was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the world back in 2007, and with good reason: it is 38 metres high and weighs 635 tonnes.
These are just some aspects to Brazilian culture that will likely amaze and delight you should you happen to take a holiday there at any point in the future. Whatever you discover there will likely change you for the better.