Bandeira do Brasil

Bandeira do Brasil

Monday, February 27, 2012


Now that the biggest festival (Carnival) is over, let´s keep our stones rolling, looking forward to the next ones:
Holidays and Festivals in March:
Semana Santa: The week before Easter in March or April. Celebrations in Congonhas (Ouro Preto)- state of Minas Gerais, and Goias Velho (State of Goiás).
Holidays and Festivals in April:
Micareta: In April or early May, Feira de Santana (State of Bahia)
Holidays and Festivals in May:
Festa do Divino Espirito Santo: In May or June, 40 days after Easter, Parati (State of Rio de Janeiro)
Cavalhada: 45 days Easter, Pirenopolis- state of Goiás.
Festa do Divino: First Sunday after Ascension Day, Alcantara (State of Maranhao)
Holidays and Festivals in June:
Festas Juninas: Throughout June in the state of Rio
Festival Folclorico do Amazonas (Carnival in the Amazonas): Manaus (Amazonas)
Festa de Sao Joao: June 22nd to 24th, Parintins (Amazonas)
Boi-Bumbá: 3 days in late June, Parintins (Amazonas)
Bumba Meu Boi: Late June to the second week of August, Sao Luis (Maranhão)
Holidays and Festivals in July:
Regata de Jangadas: Second half of July, Fortaleza (Ceara)
Festival de Dança: Joinville (Santa Catarina)
Carnaval Fora-de-Epoca: Last week of July, Fortaleza (Ceara)
Holidays and Festivals in August:
Festa da Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte: Middle of August, Cachoeira (Bahia)
Festa de Iemanjá: August 15th, Fortaleza (Ceara)
Festa de Nossa Senhora d'Ajuda: August 15th, Porto Seguro (Bahia)
Folclore Nordestino: Late August, Olinda (Pernambuco)
Holidays and Festivals in September:
Festa de Nossa Senhora de Nazaré: September 7th to 8th, Saquarema (Rio de Janeiro)
Festa de Nossa Senhora dos Remedios: September 8th, Parati (Rio de Janeiro)
Festa do Cairé: 2nd week of September, Alter do Chão (Pará)
Jubileu do Senhor Bom Jesus do Matosinhos: September 7th to 14th, Congonhas (Minas Gerais)
Holidays and Festivals in October:
Cirio de Nazare: Second Sunday of October, Belem (Para)
Festa de Nossa Senhora Aparecida: October 12th, Aparecida (Sao Paulo)
Oktoberfest: Middle two weeks of October, Blumenau (Santa Catarina)
Rio Jazz Festival: October, Rio de Janeiro
Holidays and Festivals in November:
Festa do Padre Cicero: November 1st to 2nd, Juazeiro do Norte (Ceara)
Holidays and Festivals in December:
Carnatal: First week of December, Natal (Rio de Grande do Norte)
Festa de Santa Barbara: December 4th to 6th, Salvador (Bahia)
This is not an exhaustive list of holidays and festivals in Brazil but will give you an idea of where to go to catch some Brazilian culture, music and dance.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Brazilian hammocks are beautiful 100% cotton fabric hammocks, hand woven for extreme comfort and durability. Original Brazilian hammocks are made without spreader bars and with absolutely brilliant colors. Most Brazilian hammocks are ornately fringed. These hammocks differ from Mayans and Nicaraguans in the respect that they are so tightly woven that they do not ventilate as well on hot summer days. By the same token, the Brazilian hammocks are excellent for cooler climates and create an extra sense of security for sleeping and overnight use.
In the U.K.:
In Brazil:

Saturday, February 25, 2012


(  ) zilch
(  ) survival
(  ) not bad
(  ) pretty good
(  ) outstanding

With its 190 million inhabitants, Brazil has the largest population in Latin America and ranks fifth in the world. The majority of people live in the south-central area, which includes the industrial cities of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte. Brazil underwent rapid urban growth; by 2005, 81% of the total population was living in urban areas. This growth aids economic development but also creates serious social, security, environmental, and political problems for major cities.
Six major groups make up the Brazilian population: the Portuguese, who colonized Brazil in the 16th century; Africans brought to Brazil as slaves; various other European, Middle Eastern, and Japanese and other Asian immigrant groups who settled in Brazil since the mid-19th century; and indigenous peoples of Tupi and Guarani language stock. Intermarriage between the Portuguese and indigenous people or slaves was common. Although the major European ethnic stock of Brazil was originally Portuguese, subsequent waves of immigration contributed to a diverse ethnic and cultural heritage.

From 1875 until 1960, about 5 million Europeans immigrated to Brazil, settling mainly in the four southern states of Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul. Immigrants came mainly from Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Poland, and the Middle East. The largest Japanese community outside Japan is in Sao Paulo. Despite class distinctions, national identity is strong. Brazil prides itself on being open to all races.  Indigenous people, located mainly in the northern and western border regions and in the upper Amazon Basin, make up less than 1% of the population. Their numbers are declining as contact with the outside world and commercial expansion into the interior increase. Brazilian Government programs to establish indigenous reservations and to provide other forms of assistance for these groups have existed for years but are controversial.

Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking nation in the Americas. About three-quarters of all Brazilians belong to the Roman Catholic Church; most others are members of traditional Protestant denominations, members of growing evangelical movements, or follow practices derived from African religions.
Dilma Vana Rousseff, the Workers' Party (PT) candidate, won a runoff election against the Brazilian Social Democratic Party candidate, becoming the first woman president of Brazil. Brazil is a federal republic with 26 states and a federal district. The 1988 constitution grants broad powers to the federal government, made up of executive, legislative, and judicial branches. The president holds office for 4 years, with the right to re-election for an additional 4-year term, and appoints the cabinet. There are 81 senators, three for each state and the Federal District, and 513 deputies. Senate terms are 8 years, staggered so that two-thirds of the upper house is up for election at one time and one-third 4 years later. Chamber terms are 4 years, with elections based on a complex system of proportional representation by states. Each state is eligible for a minimum of eight seats; the largest state delegation (Sao Paulo's) is capped at 70 seats. This system is weighted in favor of geographically large but sparsely populated states.
Date: 07/01/2011 Description: QR code for Smart Traveler IPhone App. - State Dept ImageThe Department's Smart Traveler app for U.S. travelers going abroad provides easy access to the frequently updated official country information, travel alerts, travel warnings, maps, U.S. embassy locations, and more that appear on the site. Travelers can also set up e-tineraries to keep track of arrival and departure dates and make notes about upcoming trips. The app is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (requires iOS 4.0 or later).


Friday, February 24, 2012


Mortadella (Italian pronunciation: [mortaˈdɛla]) is a large Italian sausage[1] or cold cut (salume /sa'lume/) made of finely hashed or ground, heat-cured pork sausage, which incorporates at least 15% small cubes of pork fat (principally the hard fat from the neck of the pig). Mortadella is a staple product of Bologna, Italy. It is flavored with spices, including whole or ground black pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg, coriander and pistachios, jalapeños and/or olives, though those with flavours other than ground pepper and myrtle are not made with the original recipe from Bologna.
Mortadella sandwich is any sandwich using mortadella,  and also refers to a very popular sandwich in Brazil especially São Paulo made with mortadella sausage. The sandwich is made from nearly a half of a pound of mortadella sausage, Provolone cheese, sourdough bread, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012



This samba school showed by means of its theme and costumes the culture of the state of Bahia, the mixture of races of which the Brazilians come from.

IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND: The parades during carnival are a showcase of each "escola" enhanced by the participation of celebrities, fans and guests.Each school displays glamour in colorful costumes and floats with special effects and is organized into different segments or "alas". The "alas" represent different components of the school's theme, or "enredo", as they act out a homage to a myth, historic event or figure, or express their view on a social, environmental or international issue. The "alas" display distinct costumes or "fantasias" and also reflect traditional samba school roles developed years ago. Thus, each samba school parade has the "comissao de frente"; individuals who open the parade by walking in social attires, saluting the crowds; the "ala das Baianas", or the traditional segment of Bahian African-Brazilian ladies with impressive round dresses spinning through the avenue; the "puxadores" (lead singers) singing the "samba-enredo" or theme-song while they play the "cavaquinho" or other string instruments; the "velha guarda," or veterans who made history in the school; the "bateria", or samba band with drums, "cuicas" and other instruments, preceded by the "madrinha da bateria", or band godmother who is often a sexy female celebrity. The "porta-bandeira", or the female flag holder, and the "meste-sala", or male cortsy, display and salute the school's flag, as they dance and strive to show harmony and samba expertise, as their performance is carefully observed and scored by the judges.



Just check out the drums during rehearsal before the D-Day!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

CERRADO fruits

The Cerrado, (Portuguese/Spanish for “closed”) is a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil, particularly in the states of Goiás and Minas Gerais. Since then vast amounts of research have proved that the Cerrado is one of the richest of all tropical savanna regions and has high levels of endemism. Characterized by enormous ranges of plant and animal biodiversity, World Wide Fund for Nature named it the biologically richest savanna in the world, with about 10,000 plant species and 10 endemic bird species. There are nearly 200 species of mammal in the Cerrado, though only 14 are endemic. Around 800 species of trees are probably found in the cerrado.  Here are some samples of fruit grown in this region:

 PEQUI - Pequi pulp is a very popular food in Goiás and Minas Gerais, eaten by itself raw or prepared or used as an ingredient in cooking or to flavor beverages. Pequi with rice and chicken is especially popular among locals; tourists often find the unique rich flavor of pequi too strong and the dish too filling for their taste. Pequi pulp will tarnish silver cutlery and if eaten raw the fruit is best enjoyed out of hand. Care must be taken to gently scrape the pulp off the pit using one's teeth: The spines easily detach and when stuck in the gums can be highly painful and difficult to remove.
ATEMÓIA OR FRUTA DO CONDE -  is a fruit tree native to Brazil. Commonly known as soursop, its original habitat includes the ecoregions of Cerrado, Caatinga, and Pantanal.
 SIRIGUELA: It is most commonly known as Jocote, which derives from the Nahuatl word xocotl, meaning "fruit." Other common names include Red Mombin, Purple Mombin, Hog Plum, Sineguela, and Siriguela. Locally, it is consumed in juices (very refreshing), ice creams, and the sort.

BARU:  Out of the fruit, the pulp is sweet and can be consumed but is also used to manufacture jams and liquors; the beans (Baru almonds) are rich in flavor and are typically served after being roasted and salted or as a part of any number of dishes as bread, cakes, Pesto sauce and ice cream; additionally the oil extracted from the almonds may be used as a culinary ingredient or in many other varied forms. Baru is known to be rich in proteins, fibers, magnesium, potassium and iron and to have a high energetic content.

CAGAITA: The fruit is edible raw, but when consumed in quantity it has a laxative effect — which justifies the species name dysenterica (as well as the local Portuguese name). It keeps for three days at ambient temperature, or 10 days if refrigerated. It is locally used for sweets, jams, beverages, and sherbets, either at home or by small-scale industries. It contains substantial quantities of polyunsaturated fatty acids (chielfy linoleic acid and linolenic acid) and vitamin C (18 mg/100g).


Cupuacu - The Juggernaut of Super Fruits

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SAMBA, then and now

The samba is frequently associated abroad with football and Carnival. This history began with the international success of Aquarela do Brasil, by Ary Barroso, followed by Carmen Miranda (supported by Getúlio Vargas government and the US Good Neighbor policy), which led samba to the United States. Bossa nova finally entered the country into the world of samba music. The success of the samba in Europe and Japan only confirms its ability to win fans, regardless of their language. Currently, there are hundreds of samba schools held on European soil and scattered among countries like Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, France, Sweden, and Switzerland. Already in Japan, the records invest heavily in the launch of former Sambista's set of discs, which eventually created a market comprised solely of catalogs of Japanese record labels.
 The urban carioca samba is the anchor of 20th century "Brazilian samba" par excellence. However, before this type of samba was to consolidate as the "national samba" in Brazil, there were traditional forms of sambas in Bahia and São Paulo. One of the most noticeable groups of São Paulo's samba, Demônios da Garoa (Drizzle's Demons), had a strong link with Adoniran Barbosa, who composed the musics they sang. Musics like "Samba do Arnesto" and "Saudosa Maloca" turned into legendary musics, and nowdays are recognized as "the real Samba Paulistano". This group is still alive, but without the original formation. In 2000, one of their most famous musics, "Trem das Onze", was elected São Paulo's symbol music.

Want to have a samba class? Try this one: piece of cake!

The purists may not like it, but we have the classical rock song "I can´t get no satisfaction" in samba rythm. Try it! The result is not as bad as you might think:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

KARAJÁS indigenous tribe, and its distinct role models

Area: Goiás, Mato Grosso, Pará and Tocantins, Brazil (Map). The indigenous tribe’s territory is defined by an extensive stretch of the Araguaia river valley, including the world’s largest fluvial island, the Ilha do Bananal, which measures approximately two million hectares. Their 29 villages are located by preference close to the lakes and affluents of the Araguaia and Javaés rivers, as well as inland on the Ilha do Bananal. Each village establishes a specific territory for fishing, hunting and ritual practices, internally demarcating cultural spaces recognized by the whole group.
Men are responsible for defending the territory, clearing swiddens, domestic and collective fishing trips, the construction of dwellings, formalized political discussions in the Aruanã House or the men's plaza, negotiations with non-indigenous Brazilian society and the performance of the principal ritual activities, since they are equated symbolically with the important category of the dead. Women are responsible for the education of children until the age of initiation for boys and in a permanent way for girls, focusing here on domestic tasks such as cooking, collecting swidden products, arranging the marriage of children (normally managed by grandmothers), the painting and decoration of children, girls and men during the group's rituals, and the manufacture of ceramic dolls, which became an important source of family income in the aftermath of contact.
Karajá material culture includes house building techniques, cotton weaving, feather decorations, and artefacts made from straw, wood, minerals, shell, gourds, tree bark and pottery. Baskets are made by both men and women.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are you into TREKKING?

The Chapada Diamantina National Park (Parque Nacional da Chapada Diamantina in Portuguese) is a 1,520 km² national park in the Chapada Diamantina region of the State of Bahia, Northeast Brazil , about 400 kilometres inland from Salvador, the capital city of Bahia.

Chapada is a Brazilian word that means a region of steep cliffs, usually at the edge of a plateau. Diamantina refers to the diamonds found there in the mid-19th century. Many cave systems were formed by the rivers that run through the region. Several of these rivers run red due to tannin in the water. Both gold and diamonds have been found there.


Principal cities and towns in and near the park

Where to stay:
Reasonably priced and a remarkable breakfast.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

GERALDO SIMPLICIO, a true self-made artisan

Born in the state of Ceará, nicknamed Nêgo, he produces earthen sculptures onto the banks of his piece of land taking advantage mostly of large rocks and embedding them in the sculptures in the city of Nova Friburgo, in the state of Rio de Janeiro. After modeling the scene it is covered by a layer of black clay. Then, it is covered by large sheets of plastic for months and the humid weather condition enhances the growth of mould, which gives the pieces a fancy look as well as preserves them from eroding.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

CAPIM DOURADO and sustainability

 Golden grass is a grass-like species which exists in the region of Jalapao, state of Tocantins. Its main characteristic is the bright and gold color, hence their common name "Capim Dourado", which literally means "golden grass".

The making of handicrafts from Golden Grass began in Jalapão, in the Afro-Brazilian community of Mumbuca in the municipality of Mateiros. Indigenous people, probably from the Xerente ethnic group, taught the art to local inhabitants when passing through the region around the 1930s. The handicrafts are made of coils of Golden Grass scapes sewn tightly together. For decades the handicrafts were only made by women for household uses and/or sporadic selling. Today, there are at least 12 local community associations. 
Golden Grass´ flowering starts in July and seeds are produced from the beginning of September through October. The Tocantins State Government, through its Environmental Agency (Naturatins), established a regional law (Portaria 55/2004 and 092/2005) allowing scape harvesting only after September 20th, and requiring flowerhead cutting and dispersal in the grassland areas just after scape harvesting. This regional law can be an efficient tool for contributing to the sustainability of S. nitens handicraft activities.

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