Location: South America
Population (2012) 205,716,890
Cities: Capital–Brasilia (pop. 2.5 million). Other cities–Sao Paulo (11.2 million), Rio de Janeiro (6.3 million)
Language: Portuguese. (official)
Religion: Roman Catholic (74%).
Today Brazil is the world’s sixth largest economy in the world and is expected to become the fifth by the end of 2012. The country is sometimes referred to as the “two Brazils” or “Belindia”, with the wealthy South being compared to Belgium and the poor North to India. Because of its size and diversity, Brazil is one of the nations most deserving of the name “land of contrasts”. Brazil is composed of a large population of mixed Europeans, including those of Portuguese descent, Afro-Brazilians, immigrants from Italy, Germany, Spain and the Middle East. Brazil is also home to the largest Japanese population outside of Japan itself. Lastly, contemporary Brazilians insist on distinguishing themselves linguistically and ethnically from other Latin Americans, a stance rooted in a sense of cultural pride and often consider their race to be “Brazilian” instead of “South-American” or “Latin”
Portuguese is the only official language in Brazil. The vast majority of Brazilians are monolingual in Portuguese, although many middle-class Brazilians and immigrates descendents speak English and to a lesser extent Spanish, French, and German. Brazilians are very proud of their linguistic heritage and resent that many foreigners, think Brazilians speak Spanish.
Brazilians are very involved in sports, with soccer being the most popular sport in the country. Other than soccer, sports like volleyball, mixed martial arts, basketball, and motorsports, have a high level of popularity. Brazilians are rated among the best players in sports like soccer, volleyball, tennis and MMA. When Brazil wins, Brazilian flags are hoisted aloft, everyone wears green and yellow (the national colors), and thousands of Brazilians, seemingly intoxicated with pride, take to the streets in revelry.
Rice, beans, and some kind of meat are the typical everyday meals because of the vast cultural diversity; foods from around the globe, which many time are “brazilianized” will be frequently eaten. Brazilian are also famous for their barbecue style, containing a huge variety of grilled meats. Traditionally the most important meal of the day is lunch. Because of modern, fast-paced life, the leisurely family-centered meal at midday is being replaced by smaller meals, usually consumed in restaurants. Meals are usually accompanied by fruit juices or soft drinks— including guaraná, made from a fruit that grows in the Amazon—beer, or bottled water.
Brazilian culture puts a high premium on extended family ties, regardless of social class, and Brazilians do not like to live any distance from their kin. Brazilians normally interact weekly, if not daily, with members of the extended kin group. Brazilians are physically expressive and convey emotional information through touch. Brazilians equate touching with friendship and a show of concern. Women greet others with kisses on both cheeks and men also welcome each other with hearty pats on the back and bear hugs. Such informality extends to conversation. Brazilians usually address teachers, doctors, priests, and other professionals using their title followed by their first name.
In honor of our featured country, families who match with an Au Pair from Brazil in July, will receive $100 off the program fees
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