It’s said that Brazilians will find ways to express their joy for life and their passion for celebration within everything they do – via music, dance and food, and even through sport – and visitors to Brazil cannot help but be caught up in this infectious party spirit.
Brazil is a spectacular ethnic mix of 208 million people is a place of diversity joined in one national identity and when you think of Brazil, you can’t help but to start to hum a tune. Influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms, original Brazilian musical styles such as samba and bossa nova continue their prominent cultural relevance not only in Brazil, but internationally. Every weekend, local samba schools meet, with young and old dancing to the resonating beat of samba drums. You can even find some spas in Brazil that offer a massage to the hypnotic rhythm of bossa nova.
Arguably no other country has had a similar impact on the world of dance than Brazil – the samba, lambada, lundu, forro, frevo, maracatu and capoeira – the popular dances of Brazil continue to be enjoyed here and across the planet. Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that originated in the Bahia region. It combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is known for its quick and complex manoeuvres. It is still very widely practised in even the most remote parts of Brazil and you can observe and take part easily in Trancoso, Salvador and Itacaré. Many luxury hotels and resorts retain the services of a capoeira expert, who can talk guests through the basics of the moves, or help them improve their practice. A great skill to learn and take home with you to continue!
The famous Juninas Festival takes place throughout June. Originating in the northeast of Brazil, which is a largely arid area, the festival is celebrated to coincide with the end of the rainy season and give thanks to St. John for the quenching rains. A big feature of the festival is the quadrilha dance – much like a square dance – and fandangos, more popular in festivals to the south. Juninas Festivals take place all over Brazil and visitors are more than welcome to join a quadrilha!
Football is Brazil’s most popular sport (Brazil has won more World Cups than any other country – five!) and the renowned ‘Brazilian style’ of play is exuberant and creative. Football matches in Brazil are vibrant, loud and exciting events that happen most weeks of the year, so be sure to catch the local team at the stadium closest to where you are staying. If you are lucky, you can catch the Rio teams Flamengo and Fluminense, play at the world-famous Maracanã stadium.
Naturally, all that dancing and singing makes us hungry, and every meal is a celebration in Brazil. With its spectacular heritage and rich biodiversity, Brazil is positioned perfectly to meet 21st century food trends of regional cooking and organic, local sourcing. Take a cooking class while you are here and impress friends back home with a family-style celebratory dish like the Brazilian feijoada – a decadent symphony of black beans, or feijão, boiled with pork bits and comforting spices, as well as rice, greens and a piquant salsa.
Simone Scorsato is Executive Director of Brazilian Luxury Travel Association. BLTA’s main objective is to promote and strengthen Brazil as a travel destination to the global luxury market.
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