Brazilian society is globally modern, capitalist, open-minded, and for most of the population, Christian. This has been forged throughout the years thanks to a massive immigration, first during Portuguese colonization, then during the XIX and XXth centuries, with the arrival of Germans, Italians, Spanish’s, Japanese’s, Armenians… Brazilian is a great example of successful melting pot and integration, which many countries through the world envy.
A hybrid culture:
The modern Brazilian society is often compared to a Platypus, this strange animal from Oceania, with a duck face, the body of an otter who lays eggs. It is hard to qualify and to define. Like this fancy animal, Brazil has put together things that at first glance would not match together, which makes the country unique. The contradictory aspects of life in Brazil are thus put aside for a coexistence and convivial culture.
It is because of the huge width in Brazilian culture that negotiation, and meetings can take time, in order to break the culture barriers. Once a deal is made, there are two important agreements to do: the first one is the written contract, in which all details are taken care of, this is what Brazilians refer as “o fio do bigode” (moustache´s hair); second is the oral agreement, it guarantees the moral acceptance of the the contract and the commitment of both parties.
Brazilians hate conflicts, and have a natural tendency to look for the most harmonious way to resolve a problem. In the country’s history there has been no huge revolution but rather negotiated agreements, except the back and forth transitions between dictatorship and democracy (maybe the impeachment we are going through might be the exceptions which proves the rule).
This aversion towards conflict leads to a refusal of criticism, especially in public. Being made fun of or criticized in public, is a big shame for a Brazilian, and it is seen as an aggression, not just towards the criticized person, but towards team spirit and cohesion. Therefore conflicts should be solved in a very calm and friendly manner not to break the team’s dynamic.
Brazilian warmth and cordiality:
This is a world known fact, Brazilians are cordial, welcoming, and warm people, this maybe because of their conflict aversion. Even during formal meetings, do not be surprised to see a very relaxed atmosphere, even if people never met before.
Brazilians are easily intimate, inviting people to their homes, sharing stories, and expressing feelings. You surely have or will notice that giving nicknames or diminutions of names like Joãozinho (little John), expressing affection towards others. However entering the inner circle of a Brazilian group of friends can be complicated. I remember a speech in which the speaker said that Brazilians are like peaches, it is easy to get in but there is a core in the middle not permitting you to go further in the relationship, whereas European culture is more like a coconut, it’s hard to get in, but then you are comfortably installed in it.
When travelling around Brazil, we clearly see all the influences Brazil has had, which is one of the many reasons that makes it an incredible country. This mix of cultures has created a unique culture and lifestyle which is Brazil. People have, over time, been used to adapt to other cultures and not hurting their feelings, which created a very welcoming, friendly, and warm population.