Brazil is the largest country in South America. It has a variety of cultures that incorporates European, African and Native American cultures. In addition, religious flexibility of Brazil makes it highly hospitable for a vast majority of people. This paper focuses on the various aspects of Brazilian culture.
Religion and other belief systems
Brazil is a multi-religious state. These religions have great influence on the country’s culture. Most of the cultural practices have been integrated in religion and vice versa (Blore & Vries, 2010).
The major religion in Brazil is Roman Catholicism, which has 75% of the entire population as its faithful members. This large number of Catholic faithfuls influences state decisions, and therefore can be considered as the orthodox doctrine for which other religions base their standards. For example, many non –Catholics undergo Catholic rituals such as infant baptism in Catholic churches. In addition, any decision passed by the government cannot be in violation with the doctrines of the Catholic Church.
The other religions include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, Methodists, Buddhists, Hinduism, Rastafarians, Eastern Orthodox Christians and Protestants. These religious entities play a vital role in culture diversification.
Brazil has a diverse musical culture. Its music incorporates the traditional Portuguese viola playing and African thrilling rhythms with modern elements of pop music.
The initial forms of music in Brazil were the ‘lundu’ and the ‘modinha’ which were African tunes that were sung as they played the native reed flutes. Later music was adopted as a means of passing religious doctrines to the natives. The tunes were the retained, but the original words of the songs were substituted with translated religious words.
Music is also used in modern Brazilian festivity and religion. For instance, the famous Brazilian Carnival. The Brazilian Carnival is a 5 day event that embraces both European and African traditions. It takes place before Lent. The event is full of drama; in which women wear outstanding costumes and people sleep on beaches. It is conducted in streets of Brazil and incorporates all Brazilians irrespective of age or social status
Diet and Nutrition
The staple foods in Brazil consist of black beans, flour, and white rice. They are prepared in different styles depending on the locality of a group. In most cases, these foods are served with chicken, fish and red meat. Moreover, Brazilians have a national dish and other popular food stuffs such as okra, peanuts, cheese bread, and chourico.
Majority of Brazilians are slum dwellers and hence cannot afford quality food. As a result, most families have children who suffer from malnutrition. However, government interventions and increased incomes from exports have contributed to better lifestyle. In addition, the number of people consuming animal products has increased in the recent years.
The type houses constructed in Brazil mainly depends on cost and available material for construction. In urban areas, brick houses are more common because they are cost effective to build. In the cities, stoned apartments and skyscrapers. However, in rural areas wooden and prefabricated houses are common due to the availability of timber and lack of cement in such localities.
The greater population in Brazil is made up of poor persons. In urban areas most people rent houses since they cannot afford mortgages or even buy their own houses. However, in rural areas people can afford to purchase and rent cheap houses. Although the cost of housing is cheaper in rural areas, people prefer living in slums provided they are urban areas. The city dwellers mostly live individual as opposed to rural dwellers who reside by their families
Though it’s claimed that the ‘Bahiana’ is the national dress, Brazilian’s have no specific national dress. This is because of their cultural diversity and hence each region has its preferred dressing mode. However, most of them prefer to wear bright colored and relaxed type of modern clothing.
This is because of the hot weather condition in most of the time in Brazil. For official purposes or work related functions, Brazilians observe etiquette similar to that in USA i.e. suits for men and women. However, women are also allowed to wear dresses, ornaments and have manicure. This form of dressing is common in most urban areas.
Recreation, Sports and Other Leisure Activities
Brazil has many recreational activities. This recreation activity depends on the location and time of year. However, there are some recreational which are independent of season. In urban slums, samba schools are popular for teaching dancing, costume creation and song writing. Along seaside cities, beach activities such as summer sunbathing are common. They also have soap operas that are televised every evening to keep the population entertained.
The major sporting activity in Brazil is soccer which has the highest number of fans. Thus, they have invested heavily in building stadiums in every city to encourage the development of the sport. As result, many Brazilian footballers, renowned for their astonishing skills, play in major football leagues worldwide. Other sporting activities in Brazil include beach volleyball.
The government health facilities accounts for approximately 20% of the total country’s health institution. The small number of health facilities, free medical care policy and poverty results in overstretching the available health facilities.
The government has attempted to mitigate over the situation by paying handsomely doctors who are posted in the harshest conditions in Brazil. This has significantly reduced the mortality rates and increased life expectancy of the Brazilians. However, this has strained the health sector budget. In addition, the rural health facilities are under-equipped, understaffed and are in wanting conditions hence they are incapable of handling common diseases such as malaria and parasitic skin infections
Brazil has a large number of people who are very poor. Therefore, it is impossible to for the country’s social security system assist such a large number of persons. Thus, the system in place is structured to benefits only the citizens and foreigners who contribute to it.
Brazil is rich in cultural resources. These resources, if properly marketed to attract a large influx of tourists. Hence more income can be generated by the state to support the struggling citizens.
However, the government’s effort is not sufficient enough to successfully eliminate the problem of poverty that rocks the country. Therefore more stake holders are required to work hand in hand with the government to successfully eliminate poverty in Brazil. In addition, decentralization of services should be done to discourage large influx rural -urban migration.
Blore, S. & Vries, A. (2010) Frommer’s Brazil. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons