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Culture, Customs & Festivals in Brazil

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Every country has its own culture which is different from one place to another, and from tribe to tribe in the same country, all these differences in other cultures we have to respect it even if it's strange or not similar to the ones we are used, and also we have to be aware of it.

Brazilian culture shares many similarities with other Latin countries. However, some Brazilian habits are very unusual for foreigners from North America, Asia, and Europe.

The traditions of Portugal, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the whole of Africa, and even of some Asian countries, such as China and Japan are all the little puzzles that make up the Brazilian nation today. But what differentiates Brazil from some other former colonies is that people have developed a distinctive ‘Brazilian style’, which even if mixed – cannot lose its remarkable nature.

Here we have special unique cultural customs and traditions that Brazilians own to share them with you, which the world doesn’t know much about.
Let’s check a few Brazilian habits foreigners may find to be weird:

1- Brushing Teeth at Work

Brazilians are very concern when it comes to cleanliness.

Brazilians bring toothbrushes and paste with them to work so that they can brush their teeth after lunch they usually brush their teeth after lunch and continue with their day with a healthy and clean smile. A typical Brazilian will often brush their teeth four times a day, and some restaurants even provide Listerine to their customers.

2- Too many showers a day

The average Brazilian showers at least twice a day. Once before going to work and once before bed. During the humid summer days, Brazilians may take three or four showers a day.

Skipping on showers is not acceptable in Brazilian culture. Not even during colder days. Not even if you stayed in bed all day long.

3- Meeting new people

When meeting people for the first time, do not expect them to shake your hands. Instead, they will hug you and kiss you on the cheek. Brazilians are very affectionate and they usually touch other people a lot, even if you are not that close.

Another Brazilian habit most foreigners find weird is that Brazilians call everyone by their first names. Yes, even their teachers, bosses, doctors, in-laws.

4- Too many Holidays

There are 12 public holidays in total, which are observed nationwide, including Carnaval. Plus, each state and city may have its holidays as well,

January 1 New Year's Day National Holiday

February 24 Carnival National Holiday

February 25 Carnival National Holiday

April 10 Good Friday National Holiday

April 21 Tiradentes Day National Holiday

May 1 May Labor Day National Holiday

June 11 Corpus Christi National Holiday

September 7 Independence Day National Holiday

October 12 Our Lady of Aparecida National Holiday

/ Children's Day National Holiday

November 2 All Souls' Day National Holiday

November 15 Republic Proclamation Day National Holiday

December 25 Christmas Day National Holiday

5- The Yanomami Tribe in Venezuela and Brazil

This tribe truly cares even for its deads. When a tribe member passes away, the Yanomami after burning their body make a soup out of their bones and ashes. The Yanomami believes that the soul needs to be protected after the body dies. They believe that the soul can only rest properly and make its transition only when the body has been burned and the body eaten by the living relatives.

6- Challenging ants.

The strangest tradition of Brazil is that some tribes as Satere-Mawe which is located in the Amazon believe that a person to become a reliable man and a strong warrior in the tribe has to go through the challenge of ants, use the Bullet Ant as an initiation ritual. For a boy to become a warrior, he must use the bullet ant stings intentionally. The tribe carries out this initiation by weaving hundreds of Bullet Ants, stingers facing in, into a glove made out of leaves. The boy then places the glove over his hand and completes his ritual by enduring 10 full minutes. The initiation is only complete when the boy goes through a total of 20 rituals.

7- Samba Dance

The most important tradition of Brazil. Brazil is the most practicing country for samba dance in the world so that the national team of the country called it the samba team so this famous dance has become an important tradition for the Brazilians but rather it is A national symbol for them, as it appeared more than a hundred years ago and is still practiced largely, especially in festivals and public events. Samba is distinguished by its fast rhythm and has witnessed many developments in performance.

Samba was created by African people in Brazil from the music and dance culture they brought from Africa.

Food culture

1- Rice and beans every day

Most people in Brazil eat rice and beans every day, for lunch & dinner. It is a cultural thing. Studies have shown that this traditional Brazilian meal is the perfect combination for a nutritional meal. Together, rice and beans are a powerful, healthy combo, full of protein, iron, and amino acids.

Being the base of every meal in Brazilian homes, rice and beans are usually served with some kind of meat and a side dish, usually a vegetable.

As for breakfast, the Brazilian people are used to a specific breakfast consisting of milk, bread, cheese, in addition to butter and jam.

Each region in Brazil is also concerned with certain eating habits.

2- Avocado smoothie

Even though many people consider the avocado to be a vegetable, it is not it is a fruit.

In Brazil, it is very uncommon to see Brazilians eating avocado toast or adding avocados to their salad. Brazilians love to drink avocado smoothies made with milk and sugar. Avocado ice cream is also very popular.

Festivals & Carnivals

1- Rio de Janeiro Carnival

The Rio Carnival is one of the most popular festivals of Brazil that is held in Rio de Janeiro every year, held the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the 40 days before Easter.

The carnival takes place for five days and is attended by millions of people worldwide.

The Rio Carnival features many performances, people wearing colorful costumes, and dancers walking through the streets. You will also get to eat a variety of delicious food and drinks at the carnival.

2- Salvador Carnival

Salvador Carnival takes place every year at the end of February and continues until early March. Each year a specific theme is designated for the Carnival and the city is decorated accordingly. Carnival is attended by thousands of people who dance, drink, sing and do other activities for about a week.

3- Festa de Lemanja

Festa de Lemanja is celebrated in Salvador in February every year. This colorful festival takes place on the beach where Lemanja, The Goddess of Water is honored. During the festival, many small boats are filled with gifts, perfumes, flowers, and many other offerings put into the water. This is done to thank The Goddess for everything she has done for the people in the past and for all she will do for them in the future.

The festival also takes place in other cities on different dates.

4- Festival da Cachaça

Festival de Cachaça takes place in February dedicated to the national liquor; cachaça, made from sugarcane, this festival is celebrated with samba performances, forro, and reggae. Food trucks are stationed from where one can taste authentic local food and shops are installed selling typical Paraty handicrafts and souvenirs.

This festival received the International Creative City Label for Gastronomy, granted by UNESCO in 2017.

5- Semana Santa- The Holy Week Celebration

Celebrated on the holy week, Semana Santa is Easter in Brazil, it is one of the most important Brazil festivals that also marks the beginning of the autumn season in the country.

Semana Santa is celebrated across the country but the most vibrant and colorful celebration is experienced at Ouro Preto. With religious services all around, the week-long Semana Santa is rejoiced by visiting near and dear ones, exchanging greetings, good wishes nests with eggs, and chocolates. The streets are decorated with a carpet of brightly colored flowers, sand, and sawdust to create beautiful designs and themes.

The children dress up in vibrant dresses and sing religious songs that enhance the festive vibe of the city.

6- Festa Junina (June’s Party)

To celebrate the day of Santo Antônio, São João and São Pedro, Brazilians started a tradition, known as the Festa Junina, a party that occurs sometime between June, July, or even August. In its typical fashion, everyone dresses as cowboys and cowgirls, and dances in coordinated group choreography, know as Quadrilha.

Sometimes the party hosts can put on a play about a wedding, where a couple would dress up as the bride and groom and lead the Quadrilha dancing. But the most important part of Festa Junina is not the dance or the clothes, but the food. Every Festa Junina includes the typically delicious Brazilian dishes such as those made with peanuts, corn, and of course the sangria (a wine boiled with fruits).

It’s a good party to take your family to, and especially the kids.

7- Festival de Parintins

Parintins is a folklore tradition that takes its roots in the state of Amazonas and is celebrated every June. The whole festivity is based around one old legend about two bulls – a red one (Garantido) and a blue one (Caprichoso). Just like during a football match, every Brazilian would choose a color to represent during the festival.

The cities also change for the festival and divide themselves into blue and red colors, cheering for the bulls while celebrating with friends and family. The Parintins festival is the biggest such festivity in Latin America and is one of the largest folklore celebrations in the whole world.

Second, only in size to Salvador’s and Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, the Parintins Folklore Festival in Amazonas – sometimes known as the Boi Bumba festival – is one of Brazil’s largest annual events. The festivities are built around the legend of a resurrected ox and, like the Carnival parades, teams battle it out to retell the story in the most impressive, flamboyant way. Taking place over three days in June, the festival’s performances blend Brazilian, indigenous, and local cultures.

8- Círio de Nazaré

it’s one of the most popular and beloved festivals in Brazil.

The Círio de Nazaré (The Taper of Our Lady Nazareth) is a typical Catholic festival that occurs every October in the Northeastern Brazil, in a city called Belém, the capital of the state Pará.

This tradition has more than 210 years behind it, and it involves traditional food, dances, and processions carrying the image of Our Lady of Nazareth all around the city. The image stays in the main square for 15 days, so that people from the nearby towns could come to the Saint to ask Her for help or to make a prayer. Our Lady of Nazareth is considered to be the Patroness of the Amazon forest and is thought to be one of the greatest gifts to the Brazilian land.

9- The Brazilian Beer Festival

The Brazilian Beer Festival is held in Blumenau, Brazil every year. The festival features beers of every taste, smell, and style. Thousands of people attend this popular festival and enjoy the variety of beers from all over Brazil. Not only beers, but the event also offers many performances, food, and other artistic attractions.

10- Lollapalooza, Sao Paulo

Lollapalooza is the biggest music festival held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The event takes place every year featuring various hip hop, alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and many other bands and artists. Dances and comedy performances are also carried out at the festival. You can book the tickets in advance and enjoy this musical event with your loved ones.


Readers Also Read:

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Festivals in Brazil

Brazil Quick Brief

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