Brazil and Brazilian Culture - Things to Know Before You Go

Brazilian soccer

Favorite Sport of Brazil

Futbol (or American soccer) is Brazil’s most popular sport. It was introduced to Brazil by an English sportsman named Charles Miller. Brazil has the most successful national football team in the history of the World Cup with five championships.

Brazilian language

Language

Portuguese is the official language of Brazil and spoken by nearly 100% of the population. Within Brazil, there are several dialects of this beautiful and romantic language and quite different than the Portuguese spoken in Portugal. As for other languages, schools often teach English and Spanish. If you’re in a pinch, try using your Spanish since it is similar and many Brazilians understand it.

Brazilian churrascaria Brazilian caiprinha

Cuisine/Drinks

The national dish of Brazil is feijoada, which is a stew of black beans with pork, beef, and other ingredients, including tomatoes, carrots, and cabbage. This dish was brought to South America by the Portuguese. Rice and beans is a daily staple in any Brazilian household.

A churrascaria is a restaurant that serves grilled meat. This serving style is called rodízio and waiters move around the restaurant serving sliced meat typically offering all you can eat. Restaurants often serve pão de queijo, meaning cheese bread, before bringing out the steak. This is a popular breakfast food as well. Another dish, particularly popular in Salvador and northern Brazil, is Bobó de Camarão, which is made of fresh shrimp dipped in cassava/yucca and coconut puree. As a snack, Brazilians enjoy eating coxinha (literally means “little thigh”) which are chicken croquettes and pão de queijo.

Caiprinha is the traditional Brazilian cocktail, made with cachaça (liquor distilled from sugar cane), sugar, and lime. It is served in bars, restaurants, and in Brazilian households. Other popular beverages are guarana, which is a soda rich in caffeine as well as acai berry juice, which is great in Brazil because of the fresh tropical fruit. For dessert, Brazilians love brigadeiro, a simple but delicious Brazilian chocolate truffle, or quindim, a popular coconut custard.

Brazilian Music

Music/Dancing

Brazilian music was developed by African, Portuguese, and Amerindian influence, resulting in various unique styles including samba, Bossa Nova, brega, frevo, and axé. By far the most popular type of Brazilian music is Samba.
Another important and worldly popular art form is capoeira, which has both African and Brazilian influence and combines martial arts, music, dance in a fighting style.

Brazilian Art

Art

In the 19th and 20th centuries, Brazilian artists were heavily influenced by European art, bringing to the country Expressionism and Art Deco styles. Some of the famous museums in Brazil include: Museu Arte São Paulo (MASP), Museu de Arte Moderna Rio de Janeiro- MAM, and Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Brazilian Carnival

Carnival

Carnival occurs every year and is the largest party in the country, filled with music and dance. In Salvador, Carnival is a massive street party where nearly two million people gather to celebrate. Carnival officially lasts for five days during which time bands play on top of trio electricos (18-wheeler trucks with mobile stages)

Throughout the year, musicians and bands record new songs and dance troupes choreograph elaborate new dances, which are revealed during Carnival. In Rio, the traditions are different; the Carnival clubs are called samba schools and it is more of a spectator sport.

Other Cultural Attractions

Recently featured on The Oprah Show, in a show entitled “Do You Believe In Miracles?”, spiritual healer John of God has been healing people in the small town of Abadiânia in central Brazil. People from all over the world, young and old, have been visiting the 68 year-old-man named João Teixeira de Faria, known as John of God, and after following his spiritual prescriptions, have been healed.

To see Susan Casey discuss John of God on Oprah, please click here "Do You Believe in Miracles?"

Upcoming Events in Brazil

2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil (June – July 2014) 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio (August – September 2016)