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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.
The size of the church varies in different mission areas. There are some wards with more than 200 people, and some branches with fewer than 30. Baptisms are fairly common, but missionaries spend a lot of time working on new-member retention. Many church members in the area are very supportive and helpful with missionary work, and they frequently invite to their homes missionaries for lunch.
Missionaries can expect to eat a lot of rice and beans as well as some lasagna and spaghetti. A popular dish among missionaries is Feijao, which is a thick stew-like dish that will sometimes be boiled with pork meat or hooves, and consists mostly of black beans.
Missionaries mostly walk in this mission and will occasionally ride the bus.
This mission is fairly safe. Common sense and obedience to mission rules will help missionaries remain safe and out of conflict.
Brazilian festivals are very large and colorful—especially the yearly celebration Carnival. The World Cup is also very popular among citizens.
As for day-to-day customs, it is important to note that lunch is the important meal of the day, not dinner. When members invite missionaries over to eat, it will usually be for lunch for this reason.
Missionaries rarely need to dress warmly—perhaps a sweater in the middle of winter. Missionaries walk a lot so good comfortable walking shoes are a necessity.
Most packages will be opened and resealed before arriving to the Elder. To avoid theft in the mail it is suggested that family and friends do not send expensive items over mail and consider tactics like sending shoes in two separate packages.
Rua São Sebastião 1003
14015-040 Ribeirão Preto – SP