Brazil's the world's fifth largest country. It is the largest in Latin America and the only one in LatAm where the official language is Portuguese. Its tropical beaches, good weather, colourful traditions and joyful people turn Brazil into a delightful holiday destination. We gathered some of its most picturesque customs for you to learn a bit more before your trip to the next World Cup's host country.
Capoeira is a Brazilian mix of martial art, dance and sport. It is considered a type of "war dance" and was influenced by aboriginal and African rhythms and customs. It is usually performed on the beach and involves two "dancers." Using various moves, the participants are supposed to throw kicks and punches at their adversary to the the rhythm of the music, without actually hitting them. The idea is not to defeat the opponent, but to put up an entertaining show. Dancers tend to dress in white, loose fitting and natural clothes, and most men prefer to go shirtless.
This is the most anticipated event of the year. Although carnival is celebrated throughout the country, Rio de Janeiro is where the greatest celebrations are held. The "Sambadrome" is where the various troupes of samba dancers parade on and along their floats. The parade lasts several days and these troupes or "Samba Schools" prepare all year for this event. Many foreigners arrive in Brazil just to celebrate the carnival in Rio. It is usual for dancers, mostly females, to wear barely anything at all.
Religion is very important in Brazil, so much so that Christ the Redeemer, the statue of Christ that stands on top of a hill in Rio, is one of the national emblems. In a similar vein, Iemanjá festivities are held in high regard by many Brazilians. They consist mostly of processions and offerings to this Yoruba sea goddess. The offerings are traditionally candles, food, flowers and all sorts of jewellery. Once the procession arrives at the shore, the offerings are placed on boats and pushed into the ocean.
Football is the most popular sport in Brazil. Such is the passion and dedication Brazilians put into the game that they are the country with the most World Cups. Pelé is the best known Brazilian football player, but in recent years players like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho have managed to carve their names in the history of the sport. Their fluid and aggressive playing style makes watching any match Brazil plays a very entertaining experience. That's why people say Brazilians play a "jogo bonito" or "nice game".
Feijoada and caipirinha
This is a typical dish both in Brazil and Portugal, a kind of stew made with beans, meat and rice. It is often accompanied with manioc flour, cabbage or fried plantain. Traditionally, this dish can be had at most restaurants any Wednesday and Saturday. It is usually accompanied with a glass of caipirinha, a very tasty and refreshing cocktail made with cachaça, lime, sugar and ice.