Skip to main content

The Culture and Customs of Brazil

Brazil is one of the most multi-racial nations in the world resulting in a diverse, colourful and unique culture that reflects the ethnic and cultural mixing of indigenous people with Europeans and Africans. Brazil is a melting pot of nationalities that resulted from Portuguese colonisation, European immigration and slavery and led to its complex and fascinating culture.

Population of Brazil

Brazilians can be identified by the region that they come from including:


Gauchos in Brazil.
Gauchos in Brazil. Photo credit: shutterstock

Native to southern Brazil, with a European culture influenced by their Italian, German and Eastern-European ancestors, gauchos are the traditional cowboys of South America. They make their living working with horses, sheep and cattle and typically wear traditional clothing that includes a poncho draped over the shoulder, wide pantaloon trousers, a wide belt and boots. Brazilian gauchos have developed their own unique culture complete with their own cuisine where meat features heavily and a love of the land.


Paulista population from Sao Paulo
Paulista population from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo credit: shutterstock

Paulistas are residents of the state of Sao Paulo, the foremost industrial centre of Latin America. Paulistanos are residents of the city of Sao Paulo also known to have a strong work ethic due to Sao Paulo being the industrial capital of the country.


South American cowboys.
South American cowboys. Photo credit: shutterstock

Sertanejos are the natives to the interior, known for their cowboy culture and country music.


Brazilian woman of African culture, smiling.
Brazilian woman of African descent, smiling, dressed in traditional Baiana attire in Pelourinho, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Bahianos are from Bahia in the northeast of Brazil. They have integrated many African beliefs and customs into their culture, as a result of the African slaves that were brought to this area to work the sugar plantations. Salvador is the capital of Bahia and the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture.

Cuisine and Culture

Against this backdrop of diverse cultural heritage and geographical differences across such a vast country, Brazil has developed distinct regional variations in food, traditions and even language.

Southern Brazil

Traditional Mate Tea
Traditional Mate Tea. Photo credit: shutterstock

Herbal tea (mate) is prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water. It is traditionally served in a shared hollow gourd known as a cuia or cabaça in Brazil. The tea is sipped through a metal straw known as a bomba, traditionally made of silver but now more commonly made of stainless steel or nickel silver.


Palm oil plantation in Brazil.
Palm oil plantation in Brazil. Photo credit: shutterstock

Palm oil is used in cooking and African deities are worshipped. Many of the religious ceremonies of Bahia combine African and Catholic symbolism and Bahianos are known for their love of music and dance.


Tacaca soup
Tacaca soup. Photo credit:

Tacaca soup (made from jambu, wild manioc and dried shrimp) is a traditional dish of Amazonia and various indigenous dialects are spoken in the region.

Few other countries can boast such diverse cultural differences from one end of the country to the next!

Festivals and Celebrations

girl dancing during carnival Brazil
Carnival in Brazil. Photo credit: shutterstock

Brazil is well known for its colourful festivals and celebrations. Its most famous festival is of course Carnival, celebrated throughout Brazil. Each city celebrates in its own unique way, but typically the streets are filled with music and dance parades, ornate costumes and opulent decorations.

At Chimu Adventures, we offer a wide range of tailor-made travel options to Brazil and all-encompassing trips to South America as well. Whether you want to match your travel dates to the Rio Carnival or simply add the majestic Machu Picchu to your itinerary, we are the Latin America Experts and can easily match your travel style. Don’t hesitate to contact us today and let us help you plan your trip of a lifetime!

Written By chimu
Scroll to Top