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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 6 stakes located within the boundaries of the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission. The church is growing in the region, though there are still many areas where the Church does not have much presence. A few chapels also have FamilySearch Centers. The area is currently served by the Campinas Brazil temple (which requires an extended trip to get to), however, the recently announced temple in Rio de Janeiro will be much closer to the area.
Minas Gerais has a reputation for having some of Brazil’s best food! Missionaries should still expect to eat rice and beans at most meals, as well as plenty of vegetables to accompany the main dish. Chicken dishes such as frango com quiabo are popular. Minas Gerais is also famous for its snack foods and desserts, such as pão de queijo (cheesy bread balls) and several types of cakes (such as bolo de arroz – rice cake).
Like other Brazilian missions, missionaries serving in the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission can expect to do plenty of walking! You’ll build up some leg muscles if you serve in the mountain areas! Public transportation (primarily via bus) is also available basically everywhere, and is convenient when you need to travel longer distances.
Most areas within the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission are relatively safe (Petrópolis is considered one of Brazil’s safest cities), though there are still certain neighborhoods that are unsafe later at night. Missionaries should be aware of their surroundings so as to avoid trouble. Heavy rains can also sometimes cause flooding and even landslides in certain areas, and missionaries should be cautious if these events occur in their area.
As in other areas of Brazil, Carnaval is a popular and important cultural event. While not as extreme as in larger cities, the festivities can still get to be a little too wild for missionaries! It is also common to see roadside stands selling homemade food or craft items.
“Russo” (Petrópolis, Teresópolis) – used instead of the word “neblina” for fog
“chapeu” (Petrópolis, Teresópolis) – sometimes used instead of “guarda-chuva” for the English word umbrella
Even though Brazil has a reputation for being hot and humid, certain areas of the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission can get rather chilly during the winter (especially the mountainous areas such as Petrópolis and Teresópolis). Bringing a light sweater or jacket (as well as a sturdy umbrella) is a good idea.
There are plenty of unique sites to visit throughout the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission! The city of Petrópolis is famous for its many unique historical sites, as it was once the summer home of the royal family during the period when Brazil was a monarchy. Serra dos Órgãos National Park is located close to Teresópolis and has many beautiful mountain sites. Juiz de Fora is also home to several historic sites and parks to visit.
Av. Barão do Rio Branco, 3053
Ed. Blue Tower-9° Andar-Salas 901 e
36013-311 Juiz de Fora – MG
The work is going so well in Brazil that the Church recently created the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission! Check back in a year to hear what the first missionaries in the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission have to say!
**Did you serve in the Brazil Juiz de Fora Mission? If so we want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your unique experiences!**