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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 and districts located within the Brazil Teresina Mission, as well as 5 additional branches that currently do not pertain to any stake or district. The Brazil Teresina Mission was created in 2009. There is a CES Institute in Teresina, and the area is currently served by the Recife Brazil temple.
Like other areas of Brazil, rice and beans are served with almost every meal. Cassava (referred to as mandioca) is commonly used as well, either eaten as a side dish or used to make farinha and farofa (a type of grain mixed with other ingredients that is often mixed with rice and beans). Fish dishes are popular in the coastal areas. Other popular dishes include mocotó (a kind of stew made with meat from cow hooves) and sururu (a type of oyster dish). Tropical fruits and desserts such as sweet tapioca and couscous cakes are also common.
Missionaries will generally get around either by walking or by using public transportation. Teresina has its own metro subway train service in addition to a public bus system. Public bus systems are the most common form of transportation throughout the rest of the region.
During the dry season, the area is prone to wildfires, in part because Teresina has the world’s third-highest incidence of lightning strikes.
Piauí and Maranhão are among the most impoverished states in all of Brazil. Expect to encounter many people living in very humble conditions while serving in this area.
Popular cultural events in the region include the Festa Junina and Carnaval. The Festa Junina lasts from the 12th through the 29th of June, celebrated with fireworks, bonfires, and music. In the city, people mimic rural life by dressing up in “peasant costumes” and serve traditional food and drink.
Maranhense – someone from Maranhão
Piauiense – someone from Piauí
There are many interesting sites spread throughout the region. Piauí is home to the Serra da Capivara National Park, which features several ancient rock paintings and other artifacts. Maranhão is home to the Lençóis Marnhenses National Park, which contains several lagoons contained within a large area of sand dunes. The historical city center of São Luís, Maranhão is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rua Tersandro Paz N° 2129
64001-380 Teresina – PI
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