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Snapshot of Brazil – The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, making it distinct from the rest of South America. The Brazilian people are mostly descended from a mix of European, African, and indigenous ancestry, though this varies from region to region. The Roman Catholic Church is Brazil’s dominant religion, particularly in areas such as Teresina, Florianópolis, and Fortaleza. However, the Roman Catholic church has been decreasing in popularity in recent years as various Protestant and Evangelical churches have been growing rapidly. Other religious traditions are also practiced in various parts of the country, such as traditional indigenous beliefs in the north of the country, or Afro-Brazilian religions such as Candomblé and Umbanda that are concentrated in Salvador, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. There has been some conflict between these different religious groups. While Brazil’s culture as a whole is influenced by Portuguese, African, indigenous, and Roman Catholic traditions, there is great variation from region to region. The south of the country is more strongly influenced by German and Italian culture. Brazil has a strong history in literature, architecture, and film. Brazil is also home to many unique musical styles, such as samba, pagode, and funk (especially popular in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia), forró and frevo (popular in the northeast), and sertanejo (popular in Mato Grosso and Paraná). The yearly festival Carnaval (held each year forty-six days before Easter) is a major event, celebrated by parades, dancing, and music contests. The holiday is especially popular in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, to the point that missionary work is sometimes restricted during the week of Carnaval. Television is especially popular in modern Brazilian culture, especially novelas (Brazilian soap operas). Soccer is by far the most popular sport in Brazil, though volleyball, basketball, and several forms of martial arts (such as Capoeira and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) are also popular. Food in Brazil also varies from region to region, but there are some similarities throughout the country. Lunch is generally the main meal of the day, and rice and beans are eaten at almost every meal. The meals usually involve some type of meat as well as a small salad. Popular dishes include feijoada (a thick stew typically made with black beans and pork), pasta, and potatoes. Southern Brazil is famous for its churrascos (Brazilian-style grilled meat) and chimmarrão (a hot drink made using herba mate). Salgados (fried snacks similar to Spanish tapas) and the pastel (pastry envelopes filled with meat or cheese) are popular snack items. Pizza buffets are also popular, with many different types of pizza available, though Brazilian pizza generally does not have sauce. Rather, people add either ketchup or mustard to their pizza. Other restaurants sell meals buffet-style where the consumer pays for food by weight (per kilo). Many types of tropical fruit are also available in Brazil, and drinks made from fruit such as açai and guaraná are quite popular.
There are 1,209,974 members in Brazil with 27 mission, 6 temples and almost 2000 congregations. The work is growing rapidly in Brazil. The members are very spirited and faith-filled. They believe in missionary work and feel very connected and close to the missionaries. Brazil has the largest number of missions in one country, outside of the United States.
Brazilians eat a lot of fresh food. They have great resources to produce, fruits and meat. A major part of their diet is rice and beans.
The Feijoada dish is the national Brazilian dish. It is a type of black bean stew with meat and a variety of spices. It’s said to have originated in Brazil in the early stages of its development.
The Churrasco/Rodizio is the Brazilian BBQ. Meat is cooked over burning wood or coal. People prepare this special meat at home or they will go out to a restaurant/home that prepares this meat for their special occasion.
Fortaleza is fairly easy to transport in. The bus lines are the best way to get around the city. There are different bus options, and here a couple to name:
Centro/Beira Mar Caça e Pesca – this bus stops after dark.
Grande Circular 1/2 and Circular 1/2 – They run for 24 hours to very central locations in Fortaleza.
There are other public transportation options, the taxi and the Urban Train. This train connects three nearby cities to Fortaleza and is used by people traveling from more distant cities. It isn’t highly favored, but the government has issued a new Metro that will run underground.
The biggest concern with safety is the pickpocketing, bag-snatching and other non-violent robberies. Everyone is trying to earn money the easy way, so don’t flash around your electronics, wallets, or other hot items thieves want.
Brazil loves music. There are festivals centered on music, including the Ceara Music three day festival in October. There’s also “Vida e Arte” which highlights musical performance in January. Carnival is not as grand in Fortaleza, but the pre-festivities last a whole month before the Carnival starts.
Art in all its forms is praised in Fortaleza. There are many institutes and academies that help to develop the art community and create more opportunities to experience creativity.
Av. Santos Dumont, 1789-sala 1612
60150-160 Aldeota – Fortaleza – CE