Social Customs and Traditions in Brazil

brazil social customs

Brazil is a vast country with a great number of cultures and ethnicities, each with their own customs and traditions. However, there are aspects of Brazilian culture and identity that can be seen in most parts of the country. If you are thinking about visiting Brazil it may be a good idea to think about social norms and traditions in Brazil.

Before planning your trip, make sure you have the respective entry documentation. You can obtain an e-Visa  Brazil by simply completing the Brazil application form online with your personal details and passport information. The Brazil e-Visa is an electronic authorization, valid for two years.

Now that you know about the Brazil online visa, you should consider the dates in which you wish to visit the country. Take into account Brazil’s public holidays when planning your trip.  An important Brazilian tradition and holiday is the carnival. Though the festivities in Rio de Janeiro are the most famous, the entire country celebrates carnival each year, usually between February and March. The celebration might be rooted in Catholicism, but it’s packed with parades, music, and dance.

Read further to find out about Brazilian culture.

Social Norms in Brazil

When traveling to Brazil you should think about the social norms practiced in the country. Every country has certain norms for behaving within their society.

Body gestures are used often in informal communication, therefore, the meaning of certain words or expressions might be accompanied by body language.

  • The okay gesture, a thumb up and a finger in a circle, could be interpreted as obscene. Avoid using it to prevent a misunderstanding or offending someone.
  • Men shake hands when greeting, maintaining eye contact.
  • Women generally kiss each other on the cheeks.
  • Among friends, hugging and backslapping are common ways of greeting.
  • If a woman wishes to shake hands with a man, she should extend her hand first.

Brazilians are open and loving people. Physical touch is common, it’s part of their warm personalities. While in some countries personal space is highly relevant, Brazilians tend not to be uncomfortable when in close proximity to others.

If you are invited to a Brazilian house, you should consider taking flowers or a small gift, don’t show up empty-handed. Don’t give anything black or purple though as these colors are for mourning.

Apperaence is important for most Brazilians, in fact, casual dress is more formal than in other countries. It is not rare to be casual about timing, so being late is not necessarily frowned up. Yet, don’t be late for more than a half-hour.

Brazilian Culture

Brazil is a country with a wide range of folk traditions, music, dance, art, and literature, some influenced by the cultures that have passed through Brazil including Portugal, The Netherlands, Japan, and more.

Dance is an essential part of Brazilian identity. From bossa nova to forró to samba, Brazilians love of dance can’t be denied. In Rio de Janeiro, people align themselves with a samba school. The same school is actually an organization that prepares to compete during the parade at Carnival. These “samba schools” provide social support to surrounding poor communities.

Football (or soccer, whichever one you prefer) is an essential aspect of Brazilian culture and identity. When the Brazilian team plays, the country unites and celebrates passionately. People also pledge allegiance to local teams.

New Year’s Eve, also a significant celebration throughout the country. Traditionally in Brazil, people dress in white or jump seven waves on the shoreline to bring good luck to their lives.

Food: if you visit Brazil, the Feijoada is a heavy-dish but a favorite for most Brazilians. Wednesday is “unofficially” the day of feijoada in most restaurants, the dish is made with black beans, dried meat, sausage, rice, and faroba. 

Brazilian beliefs

Brazil is predominantly Catholic, with an estimated of 65 percent of the population affiliated to this religion. Faith plays a crucial role in the lives of many Brazilians. There’s however, a diversity in religious practices such as Umbandism a group that brings together African religious doctrines with Catholic doctrines.

Some people believe in Iemanja, the goddess of the Sea.  Many of her worshipers honor her by presenting offerings in mini-boats during New Year.  People offer fruits, candles, and cigarettes in shallow holes in the sand throughout the year. The goddess is originally from Candomble, a West African religion that has integrated into Brazilian customs.