Brazil – Society & Culture & Religion

The Brazilian culture is without any doubt an extremely diverse Latin American culture. As far as the influences are concerned besides the original indigenous cultures, we should mention Portugal mainly because of the very strong colonial ties with the Portuguese Empire from which Brazil got the language, Catholic religion, the legal system and other cultural traditions. Brazil’s culture derives not only from other European influences but also from some South American, African and also Asian cultures. As you can see, the Brazilian culture is a mix of a variety of cultures spread all over the world.

Brazilians have natural affectionate human warmth, like nothing you have seen before and most of them are very happy and have a rather enthusiastic, spontaneous nature – which they show at every celebration (and their number is quite remarkable). As far as their religion is concerned, experts affirm that Brazil is the largest Roman Catholic country in the entire world but the truth is that you will find a great variety of religious beliefs and practices here. Officially, Brazil was a catholic country since the 16th right until 1889 when the Portuguese Empire disappeared. The 1889 constitution guarantees full religious freedom and since then, a wide variety of beliefs have been practiced. However, in 1996 a study made by CNBB also known as National Conference of Brazilian Bishops showed that approximately 80% of the inhabitants declared themselves as Roman Catholics. Many of the Brazilian people are married and baptized in the Catholic Church but they don’t attend Sunday Mass quite often.

Candomble – a religion that is found in Brazil was brought here by the slaves that came from Benin and Nigeria. According to the Catholic officials and the slave-owners, the African slaves had to be converted to the Christian religion and as a consequence, banned from performing Candomble rituals. In order to maintain their traditional practices but at the same time contenting their owners, the slaves coupled their deities with corresponding Catholic personalities.

Protestantism – over the last decades, this religion has grown in popularity quite rapidly. The 2000 Census stated that about 15% of the Brazilian inhabitants identify themselves as being Protestants and approximately 85% of them are Evangelical or Pentecostal. The Lutherans and the Baptists make up the bulk of the remaining Protestants and they are centered in the southern part of Brazil, where the majority of German and northern European immigrants concentrated during the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century.

Moving on to the literature aspect of Brazil, the most popular writer is without any doubt Jorge Amado (1912-2002). He was born in Salvador and his writings captured the personality and spirit of Bahias. His most successful novels include: The Violent Land (1944), Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon (1958), Shepherds of the Night (1964) and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1966). Another well-known Brazilian writer was Machado de Assis (1839-1908). He was a novelist that had a deep understanding of human relations. In the 20th century, other notables Brazilian writers were born, like: Clarice Lispector, Garciliano Ramos, Cecilia Meireles and others as well.

All things considered Brazil is a wonderful and interesting country at the same that and that is why every year, millions and millions of tourists visit it.