Generally speaking, Brazilian culture is the reflex of its history and the diversification of its population. It is a vast country, populated with many people of varied origins, whose art and culture have blended throughout the centuries to form a unique character.

    It is a mix of the European values, the African rhythm, the Indian naturalism, Japanese discipline and more.

    Portuguese is the official language, but accents and slang vary according to the regions. The religion also reflects this mix of different people. Officially Brazil is a Roman Catholic country (about 80% of the population). However, many people follow the Umbanda and Candomblé, a religion born during the slavery period where African rituals are put together with Christian values. In the last decade, the Evangelic churches became very popular and now represent around 15% of the population. The European colonization, African slavery and multiracial immigration, forged a unique culture that is very admired by tourists from all over the world. Brazilians are known for being a fairly relaxed people who place a high value on enjoying life. It is the country that gives the world the biggest popular party, - the Carnival - an explosion of sounds, colors and happiness, that happens every February (sometimes in March). For 4 days, virtually every corner is full of people dancing and having fun. The samba schools form an important aspect of entertainment and also act as cultural touchstones and friendship societies. It is an event that everybody should experience…

    One essential element on Brazilian culture is the music. Samba, Bossa-Nova, Lambada, Forró, Axé, Pagode are just some of the different rhythms created in the country. And many dances styles have been originated from them. Some famous Brazilian musicians are Antônio Carlos Jobim who wrote more than 400 songs including such classics as 'Girl From Ipanema', and 'Desafinado', Gilberto Gil with his eclectic brand of music and Caetano Veloso, who won the Grammy Awards and played in the last Pedro Almodovar movie, 'Hable con ella'. Most recently, the Afro-Music group Olodum, played its drums for Michael Jackson and Paul Simon at the Central Park, New York.

    The Brazilian art is also well recognized. Names like Cândido Portinari and Aleijadinho played an important part in establishing an identifiable national artistic style. The architects Oscar Niemeyer along with Lucio Costa, the creator of the layout for the new capital of Brasilia, have become an integral part of 20th-century Brazilian art history.

    Good weather every year, incredible beaches, big areas, warm sea… everything conspiring in favor of the practice of sports. And Brazilians love it… Of course, soccer is the national sport and wherever you go you're likely to spot a group of people kicking a soccer ball. Brazil gave the world players like Zico, Romario, Ronaldo, Rivelino and of course, Pelé, the King. No other country won the world cup so many times (5). No other country has a stadium larger than the Maracanã in Rio. Local sports include capoeira (elegant, rhythmic martial arts form set to music), futvolei (foot volleyball), motor racing and beach volley.

    Festivals are a very important part of Brazilian life, spread throughout the year and either celebrated in specific areas, or by the whole of Brazil. The most important are:

    January
    - New Year's Eve (Rio de Janeiro and pretty much all the beaches along the coast)
    - Procissão do Senhor Bom Jesus dos Navegantes (Salvador, Bahia)
    - Folia de Reis (Parati, Rio de Janeiro)

    Second Thursday in January
    - Lavagem do Bonfín (Salvador, Bahia)

    February
    - Carnival

    February 2nd
    - Festa de Iemanjá (Salvador, Bahia)

    June
    - Festa Juninas and Bumba Meu Boi (Country-wide for varying duration)
    - Festival Folclórico do Amazonas (Manaus, Amazonas)
    October 12th
    - Festa de Nossa Senhora Aparecida (Aparecida, São Paulo)

    Second Sunday of October
    - Círio de Nazaré (Belém, Pará)



 
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