When I lived in Brazil, my friendships with the Brazilian people were the highlight of my time there, and second only to the amazing and stunningly beautiful vibrancy of nature that surrounded us even in cities like Rio de Janeiro.
Here is a little background about the people of Brazil and what makes them unique.
Brazilian people are amazingly diverse and vibrant from their origin to their lifestyles. They're generous to a fault and very friendly, even to strangers.
The origin of the people of Brazil is primarily Portuguese, but their history also includes African slaves and immigrants from Italy, Germany, Japan, Spain, Syria, and Lebanon.
Who then is considered Brazilian?
The official definition of a Brazilian is anyone who is born in the country of Brazil.
The definition expands to include foreigners who have lived in Brazil and indicate they want to become a citizen by applying for Brazilian citizenship and also any child born outside of Brazil to a Brazilian parent.
The Brazilian people embrace art, theatre, music, literature, and poetry as an extension of their diverse and beautiful culture. The most popular sport in Brazil is football, or as we in the U.S. refer to it, soccer.
Brazilians are primarily Roman Catholic, but there are a few other religions practiced in the country of Brazil, including Protestant, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Baptist, and Spiritism.
Talk to anyone who has visited Brazil and they will tell you that these people are some of the most generous and friendly people they have ever encountered.
It's not unusual to meet someone in Brazil and be invited to his or her home for refreshments. I found this quite humbling while I was living and traveling in Amazonas, some of the poorest regions of Brazil.
Even in the poorest of homes, where it was clear that people hardly had any food at all to eat in their homes, I would be invited to visit and share a meal.
The invitation was genuine and from the heart, and it really illuminated my own limitations! My grandparents lost everything in the Great Depression and so that family trauma ran deep.
Confronting such genuine generosity really changed me!
Some people from outside of Brazil find the process of doing business there to be somewhat perplexing, because relationships are more important.
For example, an actual person rather than a computer makes wake up calls in Brazilian hotels and they always have a sunny disposition when they call!
Brazilians love color, parties, and celebrations. They're always available for times of celebration with family, food, music, dancing, and fun.
The annual Carnival parade in Brazil is the most famous and well-attended holiday in the country. A significant percentage of Brazil's tourist income is earned during this holiday, which is hosted 40 days prior to the celebration of Easter.
The pace of life in most parts of Brazil is very different than in the Western world. Things move at a slower pace, much to the dismay of Westerners who visit the country expecting the same pace they're accustomed to at home. A few exceptions to that might be if you visit the more Westernized cities in Brazil such as Sao Paolo.
Plan to spend time simply waiting or enjoying the unmatched beauty of the scenery while visiting Brazil. Brazilians approach life as it comes, whether it's a situation where a vehicle breaks down or the road is blocked, they will take it as it comes calmly and patiently.
The attitude is that things will move along when they move along, so why fret about it? You may find that you appreciate and learn from this quality, which opens up new possibilities that you may have missed otherwise!