Brazil: The Brazilian People
Brazil's population is unevenly distributed. Most
of its people are concentrated on the eastern edge of the country
along the Atlantic coast between the Amazon River and the border
with Uruguay and Argentina.
Most Brazilians are of mixed European, African,
and Indian ancestry, although many people have come from Japan,
the Middle East, and Europe, especially Portugal. People of mixed
racial ancestry, called mestizos, are found mostly in the small
towns and rural areas of the interior, although in recent decades,
thousands have migrated to the cities in search of work and a better
way of life. A small number of Indians still live in remote areas
of the tropical rain forest.
Brazilians are warm, fun loving, and free spirited.
They are also outgoing and enjoy being around others. At the same
time, they are hard working. Brazilians are proud of the Portuguese
heritage that sets them apart from other Latin American peoples.
One point of pride is the "Brazilian way" which is their
ability to find creative ways around seemingly insurmountable problems.
Brazilians often are opinionated and will argue for their conviction
with a vigor that may seem like anger but is not. In spite of recent
economic crises, most Brazilians are hopeful about their country's
future as a stable democracy with a strong, growing economy.
Brazilians are fashionable and like to dress according
to the latest styles. People in urban areas like to wear European
fashions, particularly Italian. People in warmer and humid regions
dress more casually and colors are lighter and brighter year-round.
In São Paulo and parts of the southern region, people often
dress in black, white, and other neutral colors. Stylish suits or
a dress with a jacket is common business attire
Both men and women pay careful attention to their
appearance. Shoes are well kept and polished. Manicures and pedicures
are popular. People like to dress up for special occasions and parties.
In rural regions, more traditional clothing is common, especially
among the native people. Families traditionally are large and may
include the extended family. However, smaller nuclear families,
with one to three children, are becoming more common. The family
is led by the father, but the mother influences decisions, especially
those affecting the home. Women, even those who work outside the
home, are responsible for household duties. Middle and higher-income
families often hire domestic help. Children rarely leave home before
they marry. Unmarried men may leave early for employment reasons,
but they usually live at home until they are 30.
The elderly who cannot care for themselves live
with their children because it is considered improper to send them
to a nursing home. Family ties are strong, and members rely on each
other for assistance and enjoy being together. Among the urban youth,
however, some of these values are becoming less important. While
middle-income families live in modest homes or apartments, the poor
commonly lack the basic necessities of life, including food, sanitation,
and shelter. Women and youth often work to help support their families.
The national sport and passion is soccer. Businesses
and schools may even close during the World Cup or important national
competitions. Basketball and volleyball are also popular. People
enjoy visiting the country's many fine beaches, boating, fishing,
and swimming. Brazilians are avid fans of auto racing. During leisure
hours, people commonly visit friends or watch television. Brazilians
will celebrate any occasion, and get together's often include singing
and samba dancing. Weekend and holiday barbecues are common.
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