7 Myths about Brazil

Being a Brazilian myself, living in 5 different countries and traveling the World for most of my life, I have got asked about my country several times: How is it like? Are Brazilians that crazy for football? What is the typical Brazilian food? Are you from Rio? And so on. However, I have also got weird questions, some that made me laugh really hard, others that made me think: oh my, what kind of question is that?

On the other hand, I have also listened to people making comments about Brazil, as well as observed how the media sees my country and report it to the World. Sometimes I am a bit surprised by what I see, it makes me wonder if I also have the wrong information about other countries too! What comes into your mind when you think of Brazil?

Before you go on and make a comment below – very much appreciated and welcome by Gin and myself – I thought it might be interesting to share with you 7 myths about Brazil

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#1 The Capital of Brazil is not Rio de Janeiro

Nope! The capital of Brazil is Brasilia, located right in the middle of the country, built there on purpose and completely planned by architects.

Of course that for some of you this is obvious, but believe me, there are an unimaginable amount of people in the World that thinks that Rio de Janeiro is the capital of Brazil. However, Rio was once the capital of the country for a long time, between 1763 until 1960!

#2 The official language of Brazil is not Spanish

I know, South America is filled with Spanish speaking countries,  BUT Brazil is one of the few ones that doesn’t speak Spanish (the French and British Guianas are other examples). There is only one official language in Brazil: Brazilian Portuguese. Though, most Brazilians can improvize Portuñol!

#3 Brazil is not a Jungle!

Once I got asked if in Brazil there are monkeys on the streets. Well, no. I lived in Brazil for over 20 years and I have never seen a monkey on the streets. And believe me, this was a serious question, I had to answer it to 2 different people so far.

Some other people asked me how it is like to live in a jungle. Of course my reaction was: I’m sorry? Then I got the reply: yes, you live in Brazil don’t you? So what? I still haven’t even been to the Amazon jungle yet! Unless you mean a “concrete jungle”, I don’t know how is it like to live in the jungle. Oh my!

#4 Brazil is not hot the entire year

When you think of Brazil you picture beaches, coconut water and SUN! Well, it isn’t always like this in every region of the country. From where I come from it’s summer the entire year – the Northeast region. However, in the South region temperatures drop to the negatives every winter, sometimes it snows and sometimes in places like São Paulo, there are hailstorms every year!

#5 The Carnival does not happen only in Rio

Brazil is huge, and it is only natural that if Carnival is largest event in the country, it is celebrated everywhere. Well, then it is obvious that the carnival isn’t only celebrated in Rio.

Just so you have an idea, in São Paulo the carnival is celebrated exactly as in Rio, with the Samba schools. Another very famous one is in Salvador, which disputes with Rio every year to see which one is the largest street carnival in the country. Also, in every region the carnival is celebrated differently… and not everyone likes carnival… I don’t!

#6 There is no Brazilian Stereotype

Brazil is a very cultural mixed country; there are Germans, Japanese, Chinese, Italians, Angolans and Spanish descendants, to mention a few. Which means that there are tall and short people, with blue, green and dark eyes, blond and brunette haired, as well as people with dark and bright skin. How can we Brazilians have a stereotype with such a huge mix? Hard.

#7 Not every Brazilian knows how to Samba

If you think I know how to Samba, you are wrong! And if you think that every Brazilian has that Samba magic in their feet… wrong again. Samba is pretty hard, I never learned how to do it, and admire people who can. I can count on my fingers how many people I know who can dance Samba. Oh well, sorry if I disappointed you.

Now you may comment… what comes to your mind when you think of Brazil?

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85 responses to “7 Myths about Brazil

  1. Thank you for sharing! My husband is Brazilian, and I can verify that all of these myths are, indeed, rampant. The 3 most automatic assumptions people seem to have when I say that my husband is Brazilian are 1) he plays soccer 2) he is Catholic 3) he is incredibly attractive.

    Only the last one is true! haha

    We are going to live in Brazil in September. I have only visited once, so I am excited to discover more of his beautiful country!

    Like

  2. As humans we seem as a species to have to generalise and stereotypes come from that but I would hope the education system could provide more of the basics. My partner has learnt Portuguese and now Spanish. We have an intercambio in Spain over lunch called Spanglish soup! And as we are not far from Portugal, portunol, seems to happen. Buenos Dias always sounds like bom dia! Viva la diferencia!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Good read. Pretty funny too. Stereotypes are quite annoying. I’m 5th generation American of Chinese and a little German descent. I don’t even like saying I’m Chinese because I feel like that puts a label on me that I don’t fit. I barely know anything about the culture yet most times I’m always expected to know especially by my Chinese friends. They know that my family has been here forever, don’t speak the language, and I wasn’t raised like that. I’m not sure if they forget or if they feel I should know. They don’t even care to acknowledge I’m American – they just see me as Chinese. I love visiting other countries because I’m always American and I’m asked about my heritage and once I say 5th gen foreigners say “oh you’re American”. I feel American better fits who I am. I was raised on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I grew up eating Italian food, steaks, chops, potatoes, American, Jewish deli, Polish foods and Chinese take out. I’ve always seen myself as a cultural melting pot the US is suppose to be about. I’ve actually had someone ask me if Asians have horizontal vaginas because they believed that stereotype. Not only was I shocked and thinking ‘idiot’ – I couldn’t resist my mischief so I replied ‘because of my white blood it’s slanted.’

    Like

    • I can’t believe someone asked you that. Seriously, what’s wrong with people !!!???? :o

      I was wondering if sometimes you wish to know more about your Chinese heritage ? Or if it’s something that doesn’t even cross your mind ?

      Liked by 1 person

      • At first I thought it was a joke. I wish it was. Guess I didn’t help with my answer but I just couldn’t resist.

        So, no one knows except for you and the internet that from time to time I do like to read Chinese history, customs and such. I don’t think I’d practice any customs. They don’t fit and feel strange but I never grew up like that. I only ask 2 Chinese guys I know to explain things when I need help. I try to avoid the topic with most of my Chinese friends they get insulted I don’t know the culture which I never understand because I clearly state I wasn’t raised like that. I’ve been hooked on Chinese Immigrant history. My dad’s step dad came through Angel’s Island as a kid. Next time I go to SF – I need to visit there.

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        • I think it’s interesting to learn about our own history, so I understand why you like to read about it from time to time. I’ve heard about the immigration process taking place in Angel’s island, but I dont know much about it. I’ve been to SF, but I haven’t visited the place.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Happy that you liked it!
      Ohh wow, 5th generation is a long way, you can surely consider yourself an American! I am God who knows Portuguese generation and I have no connection whatsoever with Portuguese, I am Brazilian :)
      It must be pretty annoying for you having to deal with this all the time! And seriously, I can’t believe someone would make a question like this, in which world does this person live? :( sorry about that!! Thank you for sharing your experience, very valuable! :D

      Liked by 1 person

      • That guy was from Ohio. It does get annoying but I love being outside the US. It’s the one time I’m ‘American’. I don’t mind being asked about my background. Some people think I look Chinese, others think I look Asian but they can’t figure out what, and I’m still shocked till this day when people ask if I’m mixed because I’m 1/8 German and maybe 1/8 something else we aren’t sure. Thanks for making me feel better about not having a connection to being Chinese.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s funny because there is also a huge mix of culture in the US, so people shouldn’t really mind if you are Chinese or American. Living here in Germany I am pretty used to the fact that you never know where the person is from!
          You’re welcome :D don’t feel bad about that, you don’t have to!

          Like

  4. Well I hate stereotypes….. When people form other countries thinks that Brazil is only about Carnival and Samba (i hate both as well – i like to stay home on Carnival)…. Media gets the wrong idea of the country, and the “jungle thing” it’s not really funny when people think like that…. I only see few trees and some mountains (far away) where i live…… (And the only animals that jump in my house are my bunnies….)

    Anyway I like your post (it’s full of truth) ^w^ ……

    Liked by 2 people

  5. That is terrible… I didn’t know that Rio wasn’t the capital or that the language of Brazil wasn’t Spanish. So I am glad you and Gin have put me right… on pretty much all of them! How ignorant of me! ps. I don’t know how to Samba either but I like to give it a good go :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • hahahaha sorry Indah, I wish I could! I’m actually ashamed about that, but I just don’t have the moves hahaha I know the theory, but in practice it never worked for me!

      hahaha yes, probably!! Ages ago people only associated Brazil with the Amazon… well, now the World is seeing another side of the country. I hope people change this image of Brazil hahaha

      Like

  6. Hahah…I am not surprised by the notions people have about Brazil. Reminds me of the weird questions I get about India too! People do generalise and sometimes they are so far away from the real truth, its amazing! Some people actually believe elephants and snake charmers are common sights in India roads (!!) and more often than not In South Africa, I am told i am not like a typical Indian – how do you know what typical Indians are? Even i cannot answer that :)
    Great Post Allane. Happy to brag that I knew these things about Brazil!

    Liked by 2 people

    • hahahaha great comment :D thank you! And don’t worry, you can brag about knowing all of this… congratulations :D

      I can imagine the kind of questions people make to you… you must be very impressed! And besides, India is also a huge country, and people are very different one region from the other, so it is very hard to know how a typical Indian is!
      Glad that you liked the post :D have a wonderful weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I had no idea that the Carnival does not happen only in Rio! Very interesting article. Thank you for sharing. I’d love to visit Rio. The city looks absolutely beautiful, in all the pictures I’ve seen so far. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lucy!! :)
      Happy that you like the post!
      I think most people think that too, mainly because of the media. But the Carnival happens in the entire country, and differs from one region to the other. The most popular ones are in Rio, São Paulo, Salvador and Olinda. These 4 are the biggest ones.
      I hope you do visit Rio sometime, it is a wonderful city with a great vibe, I love it!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think the World Cup was a great opportunity to show a different Brazil to the international media. I like that :D
      Yes, the cities are very big… and the population is huge… 200 million people! Crazy huh?
      I hope you do make it there sometime, there is a looot to see in Brazil. When you go you will see how different one region is from the other. It’s very interesting!

      Thank you so much for the comment, and I’m happy to know that you liked the post ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great post, Allane! I’ve come to realise that it’s hard to break stereotypes. But, underneath all our elaborate cultural make-up we’re all pretty similar. Haven’t been to Brazil (bucket list) yet, but have been fortunate to have two awesome Brazilian friends. And I’m glad I had ample opportunity of learning more about Brazil, before forming an opinion! :)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you dear :D makes me happy to know that you liked the post!
      Yes we are all very similar in the end! Even though we are physically different and have different backgrounds, we have the same feelings… in the end we are all humans, and that is what should matter :D

      Nice to know that you have Brazilian friends, and very nice of you to want to learn more before forming opinion, that is so important and very open minded ;)
      I hope you go to Brazil some time soon, Im sure you will love it :D

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Thanks for this great article! I agree, it’s important to see people as individuals, and realise that each individual is different. Coming from Japan, I often have to deal with ‘stereotype’ questions, and it becomes tiresome after a while ;) By the way, Capoeira is quite popular here :)

    Best wishes,
    Takami

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Takami!!
      Thank you, I am happy to know that you like the article!!
      Oh I can imagine the kind of questions you might get… I have little eyes, and many people ask me if I’m from Thailand! Weird… and when I say I’m from Brazil they get impressed!
      I think that with the whole globalization thing, with time it will be even harder to tell where people are from. So I think we will all end up learning not to stereotype.

      Ohhh really? Capoeira? How cool! I had no idea. Have you ever tried it?

      Thank you for your comment :)

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh yes, I think in the future, it won’t matter that much to know from where you are. People are moving from one country to another, there are a lot of mixed couples, so it’s a lot of cultural changes ! :-)

        Liked by 2 people

      • Hello Allane!
        Thanks a lot for your nice reply :)
        I agree, with globalisation, it will be harder to tell where people are from, and I personally feel it doesn’t even matter, because all people are individuals, and constantly changing/evolving :) No one is perfect of course, but I try my best to not ‘judge by looks’ and not fall to the mistake of labelling people by stereotype. It takes a lot of effort, because we’re so programmed to stereotype simply by appearances, but I want to change that through my actions first :)

        I haven’t tried Capoeira yet, but dream of trying it someday :-D

        Best wishes,
        Takami

        Liked by 2 people

        • Hi Takami,

          You’re welcome, thank you :)
          Yes, I know that for us it is hard sometimes no to label people, our minds are still used to the time where everyone lived in their own country… nowadays, we are all mixed!
          I hope you try it someday… I had some friends who did capoeira, but I never tried myself… it is a hard working sport!
          Have a great weekend :D

          Like

  10. I have a dear friend, raised in Brazil, married to a Brazilian, and living in Oregon, USA. They speak Portuguese to each other, go back to Brazil for visits, and are from different areas of that geographically huge country. It is easy to stereotype people, but not that hard to try to get to know others different from oneself. Especially with the internet, now days. I do think people around the world are more similar than they are different. And even though I live in US, please do not stereotype Americans – we are all very different!

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are right, it’s easy to stereotype people, but once you get to know them, you realize that they are not so different from us. That’s what is great with blogging, to you connect with plenty of different people from different countries, you exchange thoughts, it’s amazing :-)

      I can’t help to associate ideas with certain countries, for example geysers with Iceland, cheese with France, beers and chocolate with Belgium.. these are some clichés/stereotypes, but I don’t find them that harmful :-)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Oh that is nice :D
      Exactly, as the US, Brazil is a huge country and with a huge mix of culture, so it is very difficult to have a stereotype. Don’t worry, I know that Americans are very different from each other too :D

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Honestly, I have not really encountered any Brazilians before so I would say that all these are new information to me…😉 so it’s good that I now know better..😄

    Liked by 2 people

  12. When I think about Brazil, I thought about perfect body and plastic surgery :D What about that ? :D :D Are people crazy about coffee ? (Brazilian coffee is very popular here ;-)). I’m so full of clichés, I’m really ashamed.

    Thank you for sharing that, I’ve learnt a lot !

    Like

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