Pigeonholing Here Folks
First of all, this dialogue really goes out on the proverbial limb by attempting
to even briefly describe a culture, and much more so with a country of such immense
size and diversity as the tropical giant Brazil. A 500 year Brazil history
lesson is not what you are going to get here, only some background history and
general characteristics. Hopefully, this
Brazilians is to be appreciated by as
many people as possible. With those thoughts in mind, here it goes!
Brazilians have evolved as a mixed race people. The original Portuguese
colonists, of which all were men, mixed with the indigenous ladies to began a
trend which created the legacy of Brazil, as one of the most culturally diverse
groups on the planet. This trend is firmly established as a founding pillar of
the Brazilian society and exists in all areas of Brazil today.
The mixing of the Portuguese and the native ladies eventually took the back
burner to a next race of people arriving from the other side of the Atlantic:
the West Africans. At some point, much of the native populations had been
decimated by the introduction of foreign diseases. The Indians finally revolted
and became increasingly difficult, so the Portuguese began importing larger
numbers of slaves to work the cane fields. The demand for sugar gave Brazil
their head start into agriculture, of which remains a large part of the
Brazilian economy. Today, Brazil shares honors with Canada and the United States
as top 3 food-producing countries.
So guess what happened next?
Naturally, the colonists started spreading their seeds with the African imports,
and the mixing thing really got stirred up. Today, 500 years after the discovery
of Brazil by the Portuguese, almost half of all Brazilians have some African
All the mixing of races in Brazil has allowed for a somewhat harmonious balance
between all varieties of peoples, regardless of color. You will see blacks,
whites and all of the mixed races out together enjoying themselves in Brazil, in
every city and state, rich and poor.
Syncretism: Another Brazilian Compromise
This interracial blending of colors has also allowed for the culture
of Africa and its rhythms and
religions, to be accepted and even well-integrated
into Brazilian society. The Catholic church even discreetly allowed the African slaves to
worship some of their idols if they were with the right touch of Christianity.
Another blend was born in Brazil, thus
contributing to its status as the largest Catholic population in the world. You will find all races practicing African religions and
Catholicism. Brazilians are intrigued by the Asian cultures as
well, and the largest Japanese community outside of Japan call Sao Paulo Brazil
home. (1 million)
Expressions and Hand Gestures
Another significant character of Brazilians is that they are outwardly
expressive people. Most Americans are familiar with the way Italians mix a lot of
hand gestures together with their dialogue. Brazilians have this in common and
have even created a language of hand signs that are used on a regular basis.
It’s like a secret code that has evolved through Brazil's history. Part of their gregarious nature
includes volume. Brazilians love to chat it up. And since they
gather in groups, this volume can raise the decibel level a notch or two, which probably
explains the need for hand signals. Go figure!
As part of the body language thing, Brazilians are also very affectionate, as in
not inhibited to touch others close to them. The distance (comfort zone) that
Brazilians keep while conversing is within arms length and they maintain a
steady eye contact. Often in Brazil, you will observe friends and even new
acquaintances touching the person with whom they are socializing with, in a very
A standard greeting for women in Brazil is the two/three peck on the cheek,
starting from their right. These are generally no more than air kisses. A
left-handed pat on the back accompanied with a firm right handshake is the
standard among men.
This phrase has many connotations, but a most common form is of reference to a
way of getting things done: literally translated - Brazilian Way.
*Brasileiro = Brazilian in Portuguese*
Bureaucracy is a common part of life in Brazil. In order to deal with this
trying reality, Brazilians have developed ways to manage. A despachante
is an agent that knows how to jump through all the right hoops, thus eliminating
extra trips. A nominal fee is to be paid to the agent to arrange things.
Brazilians have to wait in long bank lines in scorching tropical heat just to
pay their bills. They can’t even pay bills through the mail, only by direct bank
deposit. When faced with bureaucratic headaches, Brazilians pay to hasten the
Brazilians face countless difficulties daily and this has much to do with the
shaping of their personality: one that deals with the problems of living in
cities bursting at the seams. Despite the challenges that Brazilians experience,
they continue to maintain hope for a better day and to be generally cordial and
Dependence on Family
Brazilians are very dependent on family and friends. Children in Brazil will
almost always live with their parents up until the day they marry. And if that
said marriage doesn’t make out good, then the kids move back in with the parents
until who knows when, usually with the grandchildren in tow.
Brazilian parents are very physically affectionate with their children.
stands to reason that these children will continue to have this need for
affection to be filled from their future mates as well.
Soccer and Sports Lovers
It fairly well known that Brazil is fanatical about soccer, called football in
most parts of the world. Pele', the famous Brazilian soccer player and World Cup
star, literally put Brazil on the map. (We can't forget Carmen Miranda) Brazilians are known for their colorful
and electric style of play.
But really, Brazilians are fond of just about all
sports and they are excellent athletes, from martial arts like capoeira and
submission style jiu-jitsu to beach activities like surfing and volleyball. They even developed their own hybrid of soccer
and volleyball which does not allow you to use your hands. It's a kick to watch
and a real challenge to play at the most basic level. Surfing is very popular
along most of Brazil's 4,500 mile coastline, and the youth embrace the surfing
and Brazilian Music
Brazilians love their music and seem to have infectious rhythm naturally in
their blood. Musical tastes run the gamut, from African influenced Samba to
English rock and roll, and with just about every variety in between. Sertanejo
is the equivalent to country music and popular in the interior.
It's common for Brazilians to get together at any given
place or time and bust into a tune, using whatever object is convenient that makes
noise. Spontaneity is the
name of the game!
Brazilians have an optimistic attitude and are ever so charming. It’s hard not
to be impressed by the way a Brazilian can walk into a room and people will take
notice. It's quite possibly a thing of confidence that everyone is attracted to,
regardless of physical appearance. The way that they speak the
Portuguese language can be so sensually rhythmic and tonal, thus leaving you with the desire to speak some of
yourself, so that you can better appreciate these fun and
outgoing Brazilian folks.
So there you a sample of all the fun you could be having on your next