Famous for its lush rainforests, lively festivals, and skilled football players, the vibrant country of Brazil is a nation full of excitement and color. Officially known as the Federative Republic of Brazil, this South American country is the fifth-largest in the world. From fascinating tribal communities to unique local cuisine, there is so much to discover about this proud nation. Read on for 10 interesting facts about Brazil.
1. Many of the world’s uncontacted tribes are in Brazil
Uncontacted tribes are indigenous people that are isolated from modern neighboring communities and international society. They often live simple very lives, similar to how humans lived before the invention of electricity, modern medicine, and industrial production. A fun fact about Brazil is that more than 50 uncontacted tribes live in the Amazon rainforest, a forest that belongs mostly to Brazil. Activists and the Brazilian government have taken measures to ensure the isolation of these tribes to preserve and protect them from modern illnesses, human interference, and extinction.
2. The letter X in Brazil is used to represent cheese
Visitors in Brazil might notice the letter X used in menus more often than usual. This is because X can stand for cheese in Brazil. In Portuguese, the official language of Brazil, X is pronounced “sheesh.” Because this is so similar to the pronunciation of the word “cheese,” Brazilian restaurants often use the letter in place of the word. A popular burger in Brazil is called the X-Tudo, a cheeseburger topped with mozzarella, different types of processed meat, vegetables, and a fried egg.
3. It is home to a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Sugarloaf Mountain
In the 16th century, refined sugar from Brazil was transported packed into a conical shape with a rounded top. The mountain’s rounded top and steep height looked very similar to this and resulted in the nickname Sugarloaf Mountain. Today, visitors can take a glass cable car to the top of this famous landmark, a fun Brazil fact. The mountain’s summit features many restaurants and a wonderful panoramic view of Rio de Janeiro.
4. Samba music and dancing originated in Brazil
Though Samba is well-known worldwide, samba music and samba dancing are most popular during the annual Rio Carnival in Brazil. Samba music is popular for its energetic tempo and dynamic use of percussion instruments. The accompanying samba dancing, meanwhile, is famed for its incorporation of rhythmic swaying motions and acrobatics to create a lively and unique form of ballroom dancing.
5. The country’s national drink is coffee
Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world, accounting for one-third of all production of coffee. However, high quantity doesn’t mean low quality; Brazilian coffee is known for its low acidity and notes of caramel and chocolate. Brazilian nationals enjoy their coffee black and piping hot with lots of sugar. This method of preparing coffee is called cafézinho and locals drink it throughout the day, almost every day.
6. Many Brazilians celebrate New Year by the sea
Most countries have their own unique customs and traditions for ringing in the New Year. In Brazil, many of the New Year’s Eve practices are influenced by their belief in Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea. One of the most common traditions celebrating Iemanjá requires jumping through seven ocean waves at midnight, making a wish during each jump, an interesting fact about Brazil. During the New Years’ celebrations, Brazilians make sure to wear all-white clothes and colored underwear. The white clothes are to pay homage to Iemanjá and the color of the undergarments represents their wish for the New Year. They may also fill miniature boats with offerings for the goddess and push them into the sea.
7. There are many variations of football in Brazil
Most people are familiar with Brazil’s record-breaking football team and the importance of football in Brazilian culture. But besides traditional football, there are a few variations of the sport that originated from Brazil. The first example is futsal, a version of football played in an indoor court instead of an outdoor field. One of the most popular tournaments for futsal is the FIFA Futsal World Cup. Footvolley, a sport that combines the gameplay of beach volleyball and traditional football, also originated in Brazil.
8. Capoeira is a form of dance that incorporates combat
Besides the famous samba, another popular form of rhythmic performance in Brazil is capoeira. The dance began as a way for slaves in the 16th century to practice combat techniques without authorities realizing it. Fluid movements and music were used to mask and distract from the martial arts moves the practitioners were learning. Slaves used capoeira to fight off colonial troops, most of whom were caught off guard by the unique technique and didn’t know how to fight back. Today, capoeira plays an important role in Brazilian culture and is practiced worldwide as performance art, a fun Brazil fact.
9. Brazil is the only country in South America that has Portuguese as its official language
Most countries in South America, such as Argentina and Colombia, speak Spanish. Brazil uses a language unique to the country known as Brazilian Portuguese. This variant is closer to 16th century Portuguese than what is spoken in modern Portugal. It also incorporates a few words from African languages as there were many Africans brought to the country during the slavery period of the Portuguese Empire.
10. Buchada de Bode is a delicacy made of goat stomach and innards
In many parts of the world, it’s common practice to cook all parts of the animal to avoid wasting food. Animal organs have diverse textures and flavors while providing rich nutritional value. An interesting fact about Brazil is that they have buchada, which is one of the national delicacies that utilizes less common parts of the animal. Buchada is a dish of goat stomach stuffed with seasoned goat entrails and often served with stew or alongside rice.
The rich culture of Brazil attracts millions of tourists per year. The energetic atmosphere and engaging locals in this vibrant South American country make it a wonderful destination to learn about and to visit.
I hope that this article on Brazil facts was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Country Facts Page!