If you are planning your vacation in Brazil, consider the following factors.
Brazilians are friendly, high-spirited, and have an incredible zest for life. In addition to strong family ties, Brazilians place a strong emphasis on the importance of educational and socioeconomic backgrounds. Portuguese is the predominant language in Brazil.
Brazil is the largest country in South America with the Atlantic Ocean surrounding a portion of it. The Amazon River runs through northeastern Brazil with the Amazon Rainforest covering about one-third of the country. The two largest cities in Brazil are São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
Take time to greet and say goodbye to each person who was present.
Married women kiss twice, once on each cheek. Single women add a third kiss.
Physical contact is part of even the simplest of communications. Touching arms, elbows and backs is quite common and acceptable. Brazilians also stand extremely close to one another. When this occurs, do not back away.
The “OK” sign is considered very rude and vulgar. However, the “thumbs up” gesture is used for approval.
Wiping your hands together means “it doesn’t matter.”
Dining and Entertainment
Always entertain in a reputable and distinguished restaurant.
Be prepared for lengthy meals. For example, the duration of two hours or more for lunch is quite normal. Do not discuss business during meals unless the host brings up the topic. Business may be occasionally discussed at dinner in São Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.
Brazilians always wash their hands before eating and rarely, if ever, touch food with their hands. They use a knife and fork for everything, even fruit. And, they always use a napkin while eating or drinking.
When inviting Brazilians to dinner or a party, do not suggest that your guests bring food or drink. Do not expect them to arrive on time, and never indicate a time that the party will “end.”
To get the attention of a waiter, hold up the index finger of your right hand and quietly say “Garçon.” To request the check, say “A conta, por favor.” Generally, waiters don’t bring checks until they are requested.
Appearance is paramount. Your clothing will reflect well upon you.
Brazilian women dress somewhat revealing in all situations, whether business, formal, or casual. Foreign women who want to blend in should avoid wearing overly formal, conservative attire.
Shoes should be stylish and well-kept. Nails should be neat and trimmed.
Brazilians are very casual about time. Being late is not regarded as a faux pas.
Soccer (football), family, Brazil’s beautiful beaches, and the country’s heavy spike in growth are all appropriate conversation topics. Politics, poverty, religion, Argentina (considered a rival), and the deforestation of Brazil are not. Personal topics such as age, salary and marital or job status are also unacceptable.
Brazilians are very expressive and quite passionate conversationalists. Prepare to be interrupted during a conversation.
Don’t smoke in public. Federal law bans smoking in public places.
Don’t refer to Brazilians as Latins.
The Carnival of Brazil is an annual Brazilian festival held the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. During Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term “carnival”, from carnelevare, “to remove (literally, “raise”) meat.”
Carnival is the most popular holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Except for industrial production, retail establishments such as malls, and carnival-related businesses, the country unifies completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. Rio de Janeiro’s carnival alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners