The core culture of Brazil is derived from Portuguese culture, because of its strong colonial ties with the Portuguese empire. Among other influences, the Portuguese introduced the Portuguese language, Roman Catholicism and colonial architectural styles. The culture was, however, also strongly influenced by African, indigenous and non-Portuguese European cultures and traditions.
Some aspects of Brazilian culture were influenced by the contributions of Italian, German and other European as well Japanese, Jewish and Arab immigrants who arrived in large numbers in the South and Southeast of Brazil. The indigenous Amerindians influenced Brazil’s language and cuisine; and the Africans influenced language, cuisine, music, dance and religion.
Brazilian art has developed since the 16th century into different styles that range from Baroque (the dominant style in Brazil until the early 19th century) to Romanticism, Modernism, Expressionism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstractionism. Brazilian cinema dates back to the birth of the medium in the late 19th century and has gained a new level of international acclaim since the 1960s.
The music of Brazil was formed mainly from the fusion of European and African elements. Until the nineteenth century Portugal was the gateway to most of the influences that built Brazilian music, although many of these elements were not of Portuguese origin, but generally European. The first was José Maurício Nunes Garcia, author of sacred pieces with influence of Viennese classicism. The major contribution of the African element was the rhythmic diversity and some dances and instruments that had a bigger role in the development of popular music and folk, flourishing especially in the twentieth century.
Popular music since the late eighteenth century began to show signs of forming a characteristically Brazilian sound, with samba considered the most typical and on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. Maracatu and Afoxê are two Afro-Brazilian music traditions that have been popularized by their appearance in the annual Brazilian Carnivals. The sport of capoeira is usually played with its own music refer to as capoeira music, which is usually considered to be a call-and-response type of folk music.
Choro is a very popular music instrumental style. Its origins are in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style often has a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by virtuosity, improvisation, subtle modulations and full of syncopation and counterpoint.Bossa nova is also a well-known style of Brazilian music developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. The phrase “bossa nova” means literally “new trend”. A lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, bossa nova acquired a large following starting in the 1960s.
Brazilian literature dates back to the 16th century, to the writings of the first Portuguese explorers in Brazil, such as Pêro Vaz de Caminha, filled with descriptions of fauna, flora and commentary about the indigenous population that fascinated European readers. Brazil produced significant works in Romanticism — novelists like Joaquim Manuel de Macedo and José de Alencar wrote novels about love and pain. Alencar, in his long career, also treated Indigenous people as heroes in the Indigenist novels O Guarany, Iracema, Ubirajara. Machado de Assis, one of his contemporaries, wrote in virtually all genres and continues to gain international prestige from critics worldwide. The Brazilian Modernism, evidenced by the Week of Modern Art in 1922, was concerned with a nationalist avant-garde literature, while Post-Modernism brought a generation of distinct poets like João Cabral de Melo Neto, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, Vinicius de Moraes, Cora Coralina, Graciliano Ramos, Cecília Meireles, and internationally known writers dealing with universal and regional subjects like Jorge Amado, João Guimarães Rosa, Clarice Lispector and Manuel Bandeira.
Brazilian cuisine varies greatly by region, reflecting the country’s varying mix of indigenous and immigrant populations. This has created a national cuisine marked by the preservation of regional differences. Examples are Feijoada, considered the country’s national dish; and regional foods such as vatapá, moqueca, polenta and acarajé.
The national beverage is coffee and cachaça is Brazil’s native liquor. Cachaça is distilled from sugar cane and is the main ingredient in the national cocktail, Caipirinha.
The average meal consist mostly of rice and beans with beef and salad. Its common to mix it with cassava flour (farofa). Fried potatoes, fried cassava, fried banana, fried meat and fried cheese are very often eaten in lunch and served in most typical restaurants. Popular snacks are pastel (a pastry), coxinha (chicken croquete), pão de queijo (cheese bread and cassava flour / tapioca), pamonha (corn and milk paste), esfirra (Lebanese pastry), kibbeh (from Arabic cuisine), empanada (pastry) and empada little salt pies filled with shrimps or heart of palm.
Brazil has a variety of candies such as brigadeiros (chocolate fudge balls), cocada (a coconut sweet), beijinhos (coconut truffles and clove) and romeu e julieta (cheese with a guava jam known as goiabada). Peanut is used to make paçoca, rapadura and pé-de-moleque. Local common fruits like açaí, cupuaçu, mango, papaya, cocoa, cashew, guava, orange, passionfruit, pineapple, and hog plum are turned in juices and used to make chocolates, popsicles and ice cream.
The most popular sport in Brazil is football. The Brazilian national football team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings, and has won the World Cup tournament a record five times.
Volleyball, basketball, auto racing, and martial arts also attract large audiences. Brazil men’s national volleyball team, for example, currently holds the titles of the World League, World Grand Champions Cup, World Championship and the World Cup.
Others sports practiced in Brazil are tennis, team handball, swimming, and gymnastics have found a growing number of enthusiasts over the last decades. Some sport variations have their origins in Brazil: beach football, futsal (indoor football) and footvolley emerged in Brazil as variations of football. In martial arts, Brazilians developed Capoeira, Vale tudo, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In auto racing, three Brazilian drivers have won the Formula One world championship eight times.
Brazil has hosted several high-profile international sporting events, like the 1950 FIFA World Cup and has been chosen to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The São Paulo circuit, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Grand Prix of Brazil.
São Paulo organized the IV Pan American Games in 1963, and Rio de Janeiro hosted the XV Pan American Games in 2007. On 2 October 2009, Rio de Janeiro was selected to host the 2016 Olympic Games and 2016 Paralympic Games, the first to be held in South America and second in Latin America after Mexico City. Further, the country hosted the FIBA Basketball World Cups in 1954 and 1963. At the 1963 event, the Brazil national basketball team won one of its two world championship titles.source: http://en.wikipedia.org/