The culture of Brazil is a wonderful mish-mash of religion, ethinicity, colourful heritages, existing celebrations and much more.
People from all over the world with a variety of cultural backgrounds call Brazil their home. This melting pot of people all started thousands of years ago with the Native American Indians and just a few hundred years ago, the first Portuguese settlers. As a matter of fact, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, even though many indigenous dialects are also spoken.
Brazilian religion represents a wide variety of faiths. However, a majority of the people in Brazil claim Catholicism their primary religious faith. Most of rather cavalier in their practice and many other religious views have crept in to form a hybridised belief system. Unlike other areas of the world, the Brazilian’s cultural views lend itself to coexisting peacefully with a variety of religions.
Family time in Brazil is almost sacred. You will find many families dining together, much like the culture in Spain. They also have their own time table for social gatherings and respect traditions from one generation to the next.
The ethnic backgrounds of the people in Brazil also lend the country a colourful culture. Many Brazilian citizens have mixture of several bloodlines. There are the Native Americans that were supposedly eradicated long ago. The ancestors of the African slaves are still around as well as the Europeans. Brazilians do not see the skin colour however. They focus on the social classes.
Because of the diverse cultural background of its citizens, Brazil boasts many celebrations and festivals. Singing and dancing tend to dominate many of these events, especially the famous Carnival. Their love of food is not far behind however. The Brazilian people use a variety of seasonings in their cooking and have many regional signature dishes.
Part of the culture of Brazil includes the indigenous populations of people throughout the country, many living in rural, inaccessible areas. They speak a number of languages and dialects, many not heard anywhere else in the world. They subsist on the land and rarely trade with the outside world. In fact, the Brazilian government has registered many of these indigenous lands to protect this heritage.
The country of Brazil can be liked in a simmering pot, almost ready to boil over. The colourful culture and effervescence of the people create an energy that makes Brazil a popular destination for many tourists each year.
The richness of the culture and its variety comes from the people, one of the most ethnically diverse in the world. The south experienced a massive immigration of Germans and Italians, and also Russian, Polish and Ukrainian immigration to a lesser degree.
São Paulo is a melting pot. There is no better definition for it. There is a large Japanese community in the state in addition to a little of everything else also: Italians, Arabs, Spanish, Portuguese and Jews to name just a few. Walking on the streets of São Paulo is an amazing exercise in guessing people’s ethnic heritage.
It has the same immigration background as New York, for instance. The difference is, in São Paulo, interracial marriages have been common almost since its foundation. This level of mixing produced what we like to call a unique kind of people: Brazilians
Rio de Janeiro and Bahia – to a higher degree – have a large black population. The native Indians were pushed to the Central region, towards the Amazon rainforest.
One version of the history of Brazil’s ethnicity explains that when the Portuguese first started colonizing the country, there weren’t many European women in the colony. However, there were plenty of women amongst Indians and black slaves. It seems that the Portuguese were less restricted than the British, Dutch and Spanish colonists and took the Indians and slaves as wives or concubines.
Somehow, this affected the face of the country forever and influenced the future generations of immigrants. Hence, nowadays Brazil is home to several black oriental people, to black people with green eyes and even to oriental people with green eyes. Talk about exotic.
The mixing of the white European and black African created one of the most celebrated Brazilian physical features: the “mulata”. Queen of carnival, the Brazilian mulata are acclaimed in hundreds of songs. Without the mulata, Brazilian Carnival would not be the same.
This highly mixed people created a rich diverse culture. From the Capoeira, a kind of martial art created by the African slaves and very popular in northeast Brazil, to the Brazilian version of the German Oktoberfest in Blumenau, in the state of Santa Catarina. The variety is in the architecture, music, cuisine and even dress codes.
More important than anything, the diversity produced a people that are friendly, creative, and always ready to smile, despite the hard times that most of the population endures. Brazilians can dance, laugh and play no matter what. And just like Christ the Redeemer at the top Corcovado, in Rio, Brazilians will receive you with open arms.
Note: Although there is a high level of social injustice in Brazil, it has more to do with classes than with races. There was never the kind of segregation experienced by the black population in the United States. There were never segregated schools, bathrooms, restaurants or assigned places on the buses.
Another curiosity is that, an application form of any kind in the United States, aiming to trace back a person’s ethnicity, is puzzling to Brazilians. Coming from a country with such diversity, it is very difficult to fit in any of the available “boxes”.
Everything in Brazil seems larger than life. It has the world’s wildest party, its greatest waterfall, its biggest wetlands, its mightiest river and its largest rain forest (and one of the most unique and diverse cultures on the planet). For travellers, Brazil’s sheer size and variety can be overwhelming.
Diverse, vibrant, and full of unexpected wonders, Brazilian culture and its multifaceted infectious magic never fails to win the hearts of all who visit. It would be impossible in one visit to see all there is to see of Brazil’s unparalleled beauty. It is a good idea to go prepared with background on the culture unique to the regions you plan to visit.
People usually think of Brazil as a tropical paradise with exotic Brazil property, and that local people are dancing and having fun all day long. Rio’s Carnival has helped to develop that image. However, only Rio de Janeiro and the Northeast apply to that prototype. Brazilian culture is much more than that.
To the original inhabitants (Native Indians) were added successive waves of Europeans (mainly Portuguese) and Africans (mostly from the sub-Saharan west coast). Native American influence is more obvious in the Amazon basin. Many regional dishes, dances and customs clearly reflect Native American origins. African culture is strong in the Northeast. Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais look a bit more like Portugal. São Paulo received thousands of Italian immigrants during the 19th and 20th centuries and their influence spread all over the State. Germans settled in the valleys and mountains of Southern Brazil and their culture and language is still strong in Santa Catarina. Finally, Rio Grande do Sul, the country’s southernmost State, feels more like Argentina and Uruguay than Brazil.
In order to make Brazil one of the world’s number one tourist destinations, the local government is investing billions in the local infrastructure. They intend to attract 9 million tourists each year and create more than 1 million local jobs. In a small area of coast there are more than 20 golf courses planned. The new Natal suspension bridge has opened up the stunning northern coast to property developers. Industry experts predict 400% capital growth for property in the Natal region over the next 10 years. Furthermore, the new Airport will be the largest in South America and the 5th largest in the world. There is little doubt that Property in Natal, and in Brazil generally, will soar in price, and that is why we have focused on this region.
If you are planning to visit Brazil, keep in mind that the country lies in the tropics and has a warm climate all year long. This applies to all the regions, except some places in the south. From São Paulo upwards you’ll be able to go to the beach all year round. Rio de Janeiro’s ocean waters tend to be cooler than the Brazilian average, but in the northeast sea water is always warm. Brazil has three main climate zones, each of them with its own rainy season. In Rio de Janeiro and the south of the country it rains more in summer, from October to May. Winters are dry and mild in Rio but it can get very chilly in the south.