The culture of Brazil presents a very diverse nature showing that an ethnic and cultural mixing occurred in the colonial period involving mostly Native Americans, Portuguese and Africans. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Italian, German, Spanish, Ukrainians, Polish, Arab and Japanese immigrants settled in Brazil and played an important role in its culture, creating a multicultural and multiethnic society.
Brazil was colonized by Portugal in the middle of the 16th century. In those early times, owing to the primitive state of pre-Portuguese civilization there, not much could be done in regard to art expression. The original inhabitants of the land, pre-Columbian Indian peoples, most likely produced various forms of art, but very little is known about this. Little remains, except from specific cultures like the Marajoara, who left sophisticated painted pottery. So, Brazilian art—in the context of Western Art—began in the late 16th century and, for the greater part of its evolution, depended wholly on European standards.
The music of Brazil encompasses various regional music styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms. After 500 years of history, Brazilian music developed some unique and original styles such as samba, bossa nova, MPB, RAP, sertanejo, Brazilian rock, pagode, tropicalia, choro, maracatu, frevo, forró, axé, brega, and others. Samba has become the best known form of Brazilian music worldwide. The country also has a growing community of modern/experimental composition, including electroacoustic music.
The attire is an integral part of the culture of any country. Each country has its own unique traditional clothing which represents its cultural and social status. The type of clothes worn by people is determined on the basis of the climatic conditions, traditions, and ethnic groups of the area. Brazil is a large country with diverse climatic conditions in different regions. Hence, the traditional clothing of Brazil varies from region to region. Brazil is known internationally for its stylish and sophisticated clothing. Brazilian clothes are comfortable, vividly colored, beautifully crafted and decorated with attractive accessories. Traditional Brazilian clothing is influenced by a combination of different races and immigrants from all over the world. In the southern region of Brazil, there is a mixture of German, Russian and Italian immigrants; while in Rio de Janeiro, immigrants from England, Portugal and Africa are predominant. The Bahia region of Brazil is influenced by African culture, hence their traditional clothing is Bordado Richelieu, which is a doily-like embroidered fabric. Rio de Janeiro is popular for its magnificent beaches. Hence, people in this region mainly wear beach style shirts, bermudas and sunglasses.
Brazilian cuisine has European, and African influences. It varies greatly by region, reflecting the country’s mix of native and immigrant populations, and its continental size as well. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences.
The official language of Brazil is Portuguese. It is spoken by about 99% of the population, making it one of the strongest elements of national identity. There are only some Amerindian groups and small pockets of immigrants who do not speak Portuguese.
Reflecting the mixed ethnic background of the country, Brazilian Portuguese is a variation of the Portuguese language that includes a large number of words of Native American and African origin.
Minority languages are spoken throughout the nation. One hundred and eighty Amerindian languages are spoken in remote areas and a number of other languages are spoken by immigrants and their descendants.
Brazilian literature is written in the Portuguese language by Brazilians or in Brazil, even if prior to Brazil’s independence from Portugal, in 1822. During the 20th century Brazilian literature gradually shifted to a different and more Brazilian literary use of the Portuguese language.
Brazilian architecture in the colonial period was heavily influenced by the Portuguese Manueline style, albeit adapted for the tropical climate.
In later centuries, Brazilian architects were increasingly influenced by schools from other countries such as France and the United States, eventually developing a style of their own that has become known around the world.
Sports in Brazil are those that are widely practiced and popular in the country, as well as others which originated there or have some cultural significance. The Brazilian people are very involved in sports. Football is the most popular sport in Brazil. Other than football, sports like volleyball, mixed martial arts, basketball, and motorsports, especially Formula One has a high level of popularity.
In Brazil, public holidays may be legislated at the federal, statewide and municipal levels. Most holidays are observed nationwide, but each state and city may have its own holidays as well.
Apart from the yearly official holidays, the Constitution of Brazil also establishes that election days are to be considered national holidays as well. General elections are held on the first Sunday of October, in the first round, and on the last Sunday of October, in the second round, of every even year. A number of religious and ethnic holidays are also celebrated in Brazil.