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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 districts and stakes located within the Brazil Vitória Mission. There is a Church Institute located in Vila Velha, and several chapels have FamilySearch Centers. The area is currently serviced by the Campinas Brazil temple located in the state of São Paulo, though the recently announced temple in Rio de Janeiro will be significantly closer upon its completion.
Rice and beans is the common staple food in Brazil, and missionaries can expect to eat it daily. Lunch is the largest and most important meal of the day. The main meal usually consists of rice and beans served with some type of meat and a salad. Pasta is also sometimes served. Many types of fruit are available, including many that are hard to find in the United States! Tropical fruits, such as mangoes and bananas, are especially popular.
Missionaries mostly get around either by walking or by using public transportation. Bus routes are extensive and convenient for traveling longer distances. The Terminal Rodoviário Carlos Alberto Vivácqua Campos is the main bus station that connects Vitória to other parts of the state.
Like in other parts of Brazil, Carnaval is the largest cultural celebration. The festivities include parades, dancing, music, and plenty of things that aren’t appropriate for missionaries! Soccer is also quite popular.
“capixaba” – someone born in the state of Espírito Santo
“carioca” – someone from Rio de Janeiro
“bacana, Show de Bola, legal, muito maneira” – all slang for “cool/legit”
There are many interesting tourist sites located within the state of Espírito Santo, such as the Palácio Anchieta in Vitória, the Convento da Penha in Vila Velha, and Caparaó National Park, where snow occasionally occurs on the higher mountain peaks.
Avenida João Baptista Parra, 633
Edf. Enseada Office, Praia do Suá
29052-123 Vitória – ES
Facebook Group “Missão Brasil Vitória“
What items were hard to get or not available?
“Peanut butter, quality ice cream and guacamole.”
What did you eat the most of?
“Beans and rice directly. Pasta every so often and lots of fruit”
What is the craziest thing you ate?
“Cow stomach and tongue.”
What was the most surprising thing about the culture?
“I was surprised by how warm and welcoming they are. Brazilians are the best at making someone feel loved even though they don’t know them well. They’re great examples of Christ-like love. Also they love to tease.”
What advice would you give to someone going to the Brazil Vitória Mission?
“It’s hot but you’ll be happy. Hard work and obedience is the sure key to being happy. ”
What do you wish you had known before you served?
“I wish I would’ve known how tiring and exerting a mission truly is. Also, it’s best not to attract attention as one that is wealthy or by speaking english in lower income areas.”