We interviewed a Brazilian cultural expert, Taíse Gewehr to find out what are the typical characteristics among Brazilians. She helped us understand what Brazilians have in common, what they like to do, and what is important to them. On top of Mr. Gewehr’s advice, our Operations Director, who’s also Brazilian and based in our São Paulo office, collaborated with some more Brazilian quirks.
Find out if you’re a typical Brazilian, below!
1. You’re super open and tolerant to different cultures and backgrounds
Brazil has had immigration from many parts of the world throughout its modern history. People have come from Italy, Japan, Africa, and more, and the mixing of cultures has been widespread, therefore Brazilians are accustomed to interacting with different cultural backgrounds, religions, and people with different believes. Check out the video above, from the São Paulo Immigrant Festival that’s going on this month!
2. The most important meal of the day for you is lunch
Brazilians find it strange that in so many cultures, dinner is the favoured meal. How can you go to sleep on such a heavy stomach? In smaller towns in Brazil, people usually have 2 hours of lunch (and 1-2 hours in larger cities) off from work, so they can have a proper meal with their families, and maybe even take a nap before heading back to work. Sunday lunches throughout Brazil are also usually the most important time to gather the entire family!
3. You wear white on New Year’s Eve
Those who live closer or travel to coastal towns for the holiday, will usually don themselves in white flowy dresses, tshirts and shorts. If you’re not at the beach, you’re usually at a party with family and friends, but always decked out in white! This and other New Year superstitions go back to our African heritage, and Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian religion, that pays homage Iemanjá, the ocean goddess. In the 1970’s, those who practiced Candomblé would be seen honoring Iemanjá, wearing white for purification in the New Year, and throwing rose petals into the water on Copacabana beach. Others started to follow suit, and this ultimately became a tradition throughout the country!
4. It’s important for you to share your time with the people you love
During their free time Brazilians like to go shopping, to the movies, to parties, to the beach, to parks, for dinner or to watch football, but the most important thing is to do something together with the people they love, no matter what the activity is. Brazilians tend to value personal relationships more than most, and this is something that enchants tourists who visit!
5. When you travel, everyone loves you, just because you’re Brazilian
Unless you’re in a location where Brazilians live and are causing trouble, it’s pretty tough to travel anywhere in the world where, once you say “I’m Brazilian”, you’ll be treated poorly or looked down upon. Usually, the reactions we get are “REALLY? That’s awesome, I love Brazilians, I love football. I love samba. I love cachaça. Pelé!! CARNIVAL!” Granted they are usually excited about stereotypes about Brazilians, but it’s still pretty sweet to be a Brazilian traveler.
Brazilian travelers – our friends @ Quero Viajar Mais.
6. You are surprised when sports that aren’t football, or Formula 1 are on TV
The other day there was a handball game on TV. What? Did you know Brazilian women are handball world champions!? And now that Medina is a world surf champ, that seems to come on every once in a while too! Besides football and formula 1, Brazilian television stations tend only to show sports when national teams or athletes are doing well in their sport.
7. You’re generous and hospitable
Brazilians are known for their amazing hospitality and generous attitude towards foreign people. Even if they don’t share the same language with you, they love to communicate with you and make you feel welcome. In general Brazilians are extremely warm and have good intentions. Throughout the World Cup, our clients were amazed at how they were able to communicate with Brazilians, without speaking Portuguese, asking for directions, using mimics and hand gestures! In some smaller towns, it’s not uncommon to meet people on the street and have them welcome you into their home as well. In Brazil, we say “Make yourself at home,” but more commonly we’ll say “Aqui em casa é igual coração de mãe, tem espaço pra todo mundo,” which means “My house is like a mother’s heart – there’s room for everyone!”
8. “Valentine’s Day” for you is in June, not February
In Brazil, Dia dos Namorados, our version of what most call Valentine’s Day, is on June 12th. This is partly because the feast of Saint Anthony is on June 13th, and here, he is considered the “Marriage (Finder) Saint”. But the reason we celebrate this day is commercial! In 1949, an advertising executive, Joõa Dorio, developed a commerical program linked to Saint Anthony’s feast day and love, because June is a month that is low in sales for many shops, and so Dia dos Namorados was born to generate more for stores, and gift exchanges!
9. You celebrate saints’ birthdays and Catholic/Christian holidays, even if you’re not Catholic
Corpus Christi, Easter, Christmas, and Nossa Senhora de Aparecida’s (Brazilian Patron Saint) days are all national holidays! And then there are the feasts of São João, Santo Antonio, São Jorge, and many more saint’s that are celebrated with festivals, for believers and non-believers alike, are popular throughout the country. And let’s not forget that Carnival isn’t the day before Ash Wednesday just because.
10. The most important thing for you is to enjoy life!
For a Brazilian, enjoying life without stress is one of the most essential things in life, and most of all enjoying life with others. It’s no doubt Brazilians have been referred to as the coolest people in the world! A common phrase in Brazil is “Sou pobre, mas sou feliz.” Which means “I’m poor, but I’m happy.” So live a little, like a Brazilian, why don’t you!