Brazil is a huge and beautiful country, the biggest in Latin America. It’s divided into five regions, each one with its characteristics: North, Northeast, Central-West, Southeast, and South. The fact that all these regions differ so much from each other amazes me. The food, landscapes, myths, regional parties, accents, it seems like several countries all in one. What do you know about Brazil? If football and carnaval were the only things that came to your mind, then keep reading! Let me tell you some useful – or just curious – facts about the country I was born.
Here are 12 facts about Brazil that you didn’t know
1. Feijoada is not served every day
The dish has specific days to be served, Saturday is the most common day, but it’s also served on Wednesdays. A lot of restaurants and bars has feijoada as the special dish on these two days.
2. Feijoada is not the only main dish
Besides the famous feijoada, there are many other dishes that are very typical: Galinhada, vatapá, picadinho, feijão tropeiro, arroz carreteiro, moqueca, churrasco (Brazilian barbecue), among others. Brazil is a huge country, and each region has its typical food. If you go to Minas Gerais, you’ll eat a lot of pão de queijo and feijão tropeiro. If you go to Bahia, you’ll find acarajé everywhere. Most of the dishes are available in the whole country, but they are all from a specific region of Brazil. Feijoada gets the fame, but you should give a chance to the (many many many) others as well.
3. Brazil has a lot of different accents
The whole country speaks Portuguese, but each region – or city – has its accent. Cariocas (from the city of Rio de Janeiro), paulistanos (from the city of São Paulo), cearenses (from the state of Ceará, the Northeast), gaúchos (from the state of Rio Grande do Sul, the South), each one speaks differently. Even if you don’t speak Portuguese, when you hear a diverse group talking, you can tell the difference.
Obs: A friend from the USA once was listening to a friend of mine (from Rio) and me (from São Paulo) talking to each other in Portuguese, and she asked us if we were speaking the same language.
4. Caipirinha may cost too much or too little
Caipirinha, the most famous Brazilian drink, costs differently depending on the region of Brazil you are. In a beach bar in Fortaleza (Northeast) may cost R$5 and in a bar in São Paulo it can get up to R$30. Also, the classic fruit to make caipirinha is the lime. Pretty much any fruit can be transformed into a caipirinha’s ingredient, but the classic of the classics is the lime.
5. Caipirinha is made of Cachaça
The original drink is made with cachaça (the Brazilian spirit, a sugarcane liquor). If you are drinking a caipirinha made with Vodka then it’s not called caipirinha, it’s a caipiroska. If you are drinking a caipirinha made with Sake, then it’s called caipisaquê.
6. Brazilians have a lot of different words for the same thing
Another regional thing! It’s not only the accent that differs, but each region also uses some different words to say the same thing. It’s common to ask “What did you say/mean?” when people from different states are having a conversation. For example, the word yucca can be translated as mandioca, aipim, macaxeira, and they all mean the same thing. That can be confusing for those who are trying to learn the language. Well, I love the mixture. I have friends from many different parts of Brazil, and when we are together is like a language party.
7. Not all Brazilians know how to samba and how to play football
Are you shocked?
8. Brazil has a lot of different biomes
A biome is a set of vegetation types, which is defined by the physical conditions of a determinant region, and Brazil has a bunch of different regions. It’s a big country, after all. You can find Amazônia (Amazon Forest, which is the biggest biome in the country), Cerrado, Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Forest), Caatinga, Pampa, and Pantanal. So much to see, the ecosystem is very rich.
9. Brazilians drink a lot of natural juices
A lot, on a daily basis, and it’s not expensive. You can find a glass of natural juice pretty much at any hole. Well, it’s a tropical country, so it’s understandable. The most common flavors are orange, lemon, pineapple, watermelon, among many others (each region have some exotic options as well).
10. Brigadeiro is not the only Brazilian sweet
The most famous Brazilian sweet is brigadeiro, but there are many many others. Paçoça, pé de moleque, beijinho, quindim, rapadura, goiabada, cocada, bicho de pé, just to name a few.
11. Brazilians may take more than one bath per day
Sometimes during the morning, sometimes during the night, sometimes both. Also, Brazilians brush their teeth after all meals. It’s very common to have a toothbrush at work.
12. Brazilians don’t hug and kiss everybody
Friendly people? YES, but it doesn’t mean that it’s all about hugging and kissing everybody all the time. In a professional/formal situation, shaking hands is the normal thing to do.