Brazil Culture

Religion in Brazil

There is no official religion, but approximately 64% of the population are Roman Catholic, with another 22% Protestant. A number of diverse evangelical cults are also represented, as are animist beliefs (particularly the Afro-Brazilian religion of candomblé).

Social Conventions in Brazil

In informal situations, it is common to kiss women on both cheeks when meeting and taking one’s leave, whilst handshaking is customary between men. Frequent offers of coffee and tea are customary when visiting a host; if invited to someone’s home bring a gift. Flowers either before or after your visit will be appreciated, as will small gifts from your country of origin, but avoid the colour purple or black, which are associated with mourning.

Time-keeping is loose and fast in Brazil, so whilst punctuality may be expected from visitors, don’t expect it in return – arriving 30 minutes later than scheduled is quite normal and acceptable. In terms of what to wear, casual wear is normal, particularly during hot weather. Brazilians are known for their love of skimpy beachwear (thong bikinis for women and Speedos for men are the norm) but going shirtless anywhere besides the beach is generally frowned upon.

Language in Brazil

The official language is Portuguese, with different regional accents characterising each state. Spanish, English, Italian, French and German are also spoken, particularly in tourist areas. Four linguistic roots survive in the indigenous areas: Gê, Tupi-guarani, Aruak and Karib.