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The song Braziiiiiiiil la la la la la la, and the famous Vengaboys is what comes to ones mind when say the word Brazil. Yes it surely does once you get your eyes off their soccer games and the famous most wanted Brazilian models. There is lot more to know about this Beautiful country, lets venture in the past to know the not so spoken of things about Brazil.
Where is it located?
Brazil is located in the continent of South Africa. IT shares a border with almost every other country in South America. These countries include Bolivia, French Guiana, Paraguay and Suriname. It is the 5th largest country in the world after USA, Russia, Canada and China. It has an area of eight and a half million square kilometres.
Who found this country?
Pedro Álvares Cabral
During the late 1400 there was a dispute among the Spain and Portugal about land yet to be found. By 1494 they formed a treaty known as "Treaty of Tordesillas" . According to this treaty territories located in west of Cape Verde Islands would belong to the Portugal, and lands in the west would be under Spanish Control.
A team of Portuguese sailors led by Vasco da Gama reached the southernmost tip of Africa in 1487 and 1489. This opened the sea route to the Indian Ocean and to the Far East through the Atlantic. In 1500 a Portuguese navigator named Pedro Cabral with his sailors arrived in this area (Brazil) and began the colonial period on this land. They found around seven million native Indians with minimal agriculture, temporary houses. On the other hand cultural life was highly developed even though both the tribal warfare and cannibalism were omnipresent.
How did it become a country?
The King of Portugal died in 1576 and left no successor. Finding this an open opportunity the Spanish King Philip II unified Spain and Portugal under his rule till 1640. This union expanded the Brazilian territory. The Brazilian economy was dependent on the production of sugar, and misuse of gold and precious stones.
The discovery of gold on this island attracted many migrants from the coastal to the interiors of the country. The gold boom was followed by another source of income- coffee. More and more coffee plantations drew attention of foreign immigrants which brought in an expansion in the economic activities, which further expanded its territory.
In 1807 Spain signed a Treaty of Fontainebleau. According to this treaty Portugal was to be divided among the two. Soon Napoleon invaded Portugal, but his dominance was short lived and ended in 1815. In the same period Queen Maria and her son Prince João VI left Portugal and sailed to Brazil. But due to political pressure João VI had to return to Portugal. The presence of a royal family changed the economic scenario of Brazil. The year had not ended and the crown Prince of Brazil proclaimed Brazil's independence on 7th September 1822. For almost 70 years i.e. from 1822 to 1889 Brazil remained a Kingdom. And it was only in 1960 that the city of Brasilia was chosen as its capital.
What is the culture of Brazil?
Brazil saw mass settlements of the Portuguese during the 16th, 17th and 18th century making it the official language. Native and immigrant people form a small part of the population and speak their own native tongues.
The people here focus on the family structure and their values. This usually results in large extended families. Though the families may be large, but they are a close knit family and provided help and support when in need.
They too like a few other countries distinct between classes based on the skin colour and the amount of money a person has. Therefore having a dark skin is a disadvantage if you live in Brazil.
Women here usually work only in the lower-paid positions like nursing and teaching.
Does this mean that they have a class system?
Yes they do. They discriminate on the bases of skin colour. The middle class people interact briefly with the lower class people like the drivers, cleaners, maids and so on.
As the wages too differ from class to class, the dark skinned people are disadvantageous. Women make up to 40% of the Brazilian labour force.
Although according to the 1988 constitution discrimination against women is prohibited, discrimination still exists.
What are their etiquettes?
Brazilians are considered to be very affectionate people. Men shake hands while women kiss on the cheeks when they greet. On the business front Brazilians do not usually work with a company or an individual till they know them well. They prefer to deal wit individuals rather than a company. Therefore when invited for a dinner make the best of the opportunity to build a good positive rapport.
What is interesting here is that when one is invited for a dinner, you are expected to over dress then be casual. And to top it up corporate men and women are expected to dress formally and get their manicures done regularly.
What is their major source of income?
As of today Brazil has the eight largest economy in the world. It majorly produces coffee, cocoa, rice, wheat, oranges, sugar cane, soybeans and cotton. The southern and western regions supply beef with vast cattle ranches. Due to the growth in the export industry agriculture accounts for only 13% of the nation's gross domestic product.
The north of this country has vast plantation of sugarcane, cotton, coffee and cocoa and employees almost five million agriculture workers as wage laborers. It is only in the south that one can see mechanized agriculture of soya beans, wheat, sugar and oranges. Mechanization has reduced the requirement of manual laborer in the last few decades, leaving behind hundreds of un employed. These people are forced to live in tents due to lack of money and job.
I have heard that Brazilian food and cuisines are famous worldwide even though quite simple?
Yes absolutely right, although simple in presentation and taste, Brazilians believe in nutritious food. The breakfast will usually comprise of milk, coffee, bread and jam, or cheese and ham with fresh fruits. Few other dishes will vary according to the dwelling.
Brazilin lunch and dinner is not only a time to eat but a time for fun and frolic with family and friends. Brazil has their share of restaurants, but they are inexpensive. Most Brazilians
prefer lighter meals consisting of coffee and bread or cheese and cold nuts.
Being a Country with coffee plantations sipping coffee is the favourite time pass of every Brazilian.
Wow that's quite simple, but what about their dressings, do they all wear those long skirts and short and shirts?
Yes these are some of the traditional Brazilian attire which differs from region to region in this country and varies due to diversified climatic conditions. As one would have heard or seen, Brazilians are fond of bright colours and is influenced by different race and immigrants from all over the world.
The country side people wear shirts, jeans and dresses made form inexpensive material suitable to the climate and their occupation.
Brazilian men wearing gauchos
People in the Rio de Janeiro mainly wear beach style shirts and Bermudas with sunglasses as this city is known for its beaches. In the south of this city one would find cow boys wearing baggy trousers called bombachas, ponchosm straw hats and boots, just like in the movies.
The southern plain region of Brazil, the cowboys (gauchos) wear a
In the city of Bahia women prefer traditional African clothing that includes colourful shawl, a baiana dress or a long skirt with a head scarf like a turban. The beauty of this attire is enhanced with accessories like colourful beaded necklaces and bracelets.
The urban Brazil prefers modern clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, short skirts and dresses.
This reminds of samba, the dance form, isn't it?
Samba the dance form and music both originated from Brazil. This dance form for African slaves was a way to express and practice their religion. This was because they were forced to take up Christianity.
These slaves combined the traditional music with their dance forms and soon the dance form Samba was born. The word samba is derived from the word "samba" which has a variety of meaning. It could mean a complaint or a cry. The dance moves were found to be erotic and appropriate for everyone. But over the years samba as is no more considered as an erotic dance form but a dance which can be performed by a single person or a couple.
Besides this there are other dance styles known as Afro Brazilian Style, Capoeira, Coco, Bumba-Meu-Boi and Forro.
So is Brazilian music based on the requirement of the dance forms?
Yes and NO. The music style and dance form vary greatly. The Brazilian dances theme around its history and culture. What is interesting to know is that there are some musical styles which have been inspired by the original dance form of the Portuguese and the African slaves and definitely by the rest of Brazilians culture.