System of government
multiparty federal republic with 2 legislative houses (Federal Senate ; Chamber of Deputies ); with the president as head of state and government.
real (R$; plural reais)
no official religion, but Brazilians have traditional beliefs, and are predominantly roman catholic.For Sao Paulo inhabitants, Rio’s inhabitants – the cariocas - speak too much, spend too much time in beach, and love the sun, the samba, and the soccer in a disproportionate way.
And that’s true, to a certain extend. There is, in Rio de Janeiro, a permanent atmosphere of relaxing and splendour, of sensuality and careless ease. Cariocas tend to be extravagant, linked to music, to sun, tohuman laziness, to the moment.
The best way to watch and to live this culture is visiting a beach as Copacabana or Ipanema, contacting people, and assisting a samba rehearsal, a carnival ball, going to a restaurant with communal tables, or taking part in a musical event.
Also special, with a more profound African trace, is the culture of Bahia, a northern state, with Salvador as capital.Salvador da Bahia – and Bahia, as a whole - is a very singular case, where music presence is as overwhelming as in Rio, where the pace and rhythm of life is very linked to ancient human standards, and where the cuisine, the mysticism, and the joy and warmness of people make a unique mixture.
But there are other styles, and significantly different cultures in Brazil. Brazil is a large conglomerationof cultures, and Bahia and Rio de Janeiro are just some examples of a much diversified cultural pattern.
Sao Paulo – the big metropolis, involving an immediate region of 40 million people, with many different national origins: Portuguese, but also Italian (1 million, largely predominant at neighborhoods as Bixiga), Spanish or Spanish speaking countries origin (1 million), German (100,000),Arab and Lebanese, and Asiatic (600.000)… - is, perhaps, the major other example. Here, business culture is strong, very strong, and the leisure and music cult is rather absent.
Sao Paulo has the more usual characteristics of a modern metropolis – including the art «luxuries» of the very big cities: excellent museums, cultural parks, art shows, top musical events, excellent restaurants, etc.Annual jazz festivals, world class fashion shows (the Sao Paulo Bienal), theatre, cinema, or opera events, are rather common. Great music performers and «high» culture symbols are constantly arriving at Sao Paulo, from abroad.
Sao Paulo is not an isolated case of European culture predominance in Brazil. The South of Brazil is mainly European, in its cultural style, sometimes with visible connectionsto some particular countries. That’s, undoubtedly, the case of Blumenau – the town where takes place the America’s largest and liveliest beer festival (Oktoberfest), reflecting a large German origin community. Blumenau’s Oktoberfest is a three week festival, a replica of Munich’s, an event that calls more than a million people a year, and rivals with events as Rio de Janeiro or Salvador’sCarnivals.
Blumenau is, indeed, an example of the predominance of European culture on the south of Brazil. Here, the impact of African or Indian culture is insignificant, and the racial blending of other Brazilian states doesn’t exist.
If you want to visit an atypical Brazil, deeply related with European culture, where even the climate is different (four seasons, with a cold one…), choose thesouthern states. Here you may find folklore, traditions, music and a cuisine (with beer and wine) strictly rooted in Europe.
Another example of a very different Brazil culture, is the Amazonian, well represented by the «caboclo» community. The caboclos are the people of the forest: rubber-tappers, fishermen, and small farmers living near the rivers’ margins – about three million people, scattered...