Cultural identity, Language, Social norms

5 Funny Brazil Traditions and Gestures

Addison / 15th March 2019
Brazil Customs

Every country’s individuality is defined by its culture and traditions and its fun to explore them. The most interesting fact is that traditions in different countries look similar but have completely different meanings. Brazil’s traditions and culture is an example and their traditions are not limited to football, carnivals, and samba dance.

While Brazil’s traditions are colorful and full of life, some of them might seem quite funny to people who are not familiar with the country’s dynamics which can create awkward situations. Gestures and customs that are universally acceptable are perceived as offensive in Brazil and certain habits of Brazilians are considered to be ‘weird’ and unusual if not unacceptable by the rest of the world.

Here are 5 funny Brazilian traditions and gestures that you would want to know before your visit.

  1. Expressive: Hand gestures and eye contacts are a part of Brazilian customs. Brazilians express their thoughts through hand gestures that may seem funny to people from other parts of the world. Some of the hand gestures are the same as the popular ones but have a different meaning. For example, ‘all the best’ is popularly expressed by a thumbs up. In Brazil,  it is expressed by a placing the thumb in between the index finger and the middle finger. ‘Good food’ is indicated by pinching the earlobe with the thumb and index finger with a pouting smile. Some common hand gestures are considered offensive in Brazil. One example is the famous ‘OK’ gesture which is universally expressed with joining the tip of the thumb and forefinger.
  2. Friendly Proximity: Handshakes, pat on the shoulder, hugs – all are a part of a usual conversation in Brazil. Brazilians are quite comfortable expressing their friendly and casual nature through physical proximity. They greet both strangers and friends, men and women with hugs and kisses. It is also customary to maintain eye contact in any kind of interaction. Avoiding eye contact is considered to be rude and that you are ignoring the other person.
  3. Long Vacations: Holidays and vacations in Brazil are long and frequent. A long weekend is all about barbecue, beach, and fun with family and friends. Brazil has numerous national holidays and the work ethos is relaxed, granting 30 days of paid vacation. It allows them to enjoy the world-famous Brazilian Carnival and, of course, football.
  4. Hygiene Obsession: Brazilians are quite obsessed with hygiene and cleanliness. An example of this is their teeth-brushing routine. Brazilians carry their toothbrush and toothpaste with them all the time, even at work. They brush their teeth at least 4 times a day, especially after lunch. Brazilians even like to shower more than 2 times a day.
  5. Food Habits: Perhaps influenced by their obsession with cleanliness, Brazilians don’t like to touch their food. It’s considered rude to touch food while eating, even if that means you have washed your hands. The funny tradition is their approach to eating pizzas. Brazilians eat their pizzas with a knife and fork and use

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