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About Brazil

This summary supplements the many links to other internet sites available to help you learn more about Brazil.

Greetings

Brazilians greet each other with a handshake; good friends often embrace. Women often kiss each other on alternating cheeks; although some actually touch cheeks and "kiss the air". Common terms are "Tudo Bem?" Is everything fine? or "Como Vai?" How are you? Young friends greet each other with a simple "Oi", Hi. When leaving a small group, it is polite to shake hands with those who are present. A common term for parting is "Tchau", Good-bye; also common is "Ate logo", See you soon.

The People

Brazilians are friendly, warm and free-spirited people. They are also outgoing and enjoy being around others. Their tropical climate allows much time outdoors, including chatting outside late into the evening.

The Population

The population of Brazil is approximately 190 million and is growing at a rate of 1.05 percent annually.

Language

Because Portugal colonized Brazil, Portuguese is the official language. English is a popular second language.

Religion

There are more Roman Catholics in Brazil than in any other country: 65% of the people are Catholic.

Land & Climate

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world and the sixth most populous. It is larger than the continental United States and makes up half of South America. Forests cover 65% if its territory and includes the world's largest tropical rain forest in the Amazon River basin. The Amazon River is the world's largest. Brazil is south of the equator and has mostly a tropical climate.

Government

Brazil is a federal republic consisting of twenty-six states, and one federal district (Brasilia, the capital). Each state is technically autonomous, with a legislative body and an elected governor. Voting is universal and compulsory for ages eighteen to seventy. The presidential term is five years.

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Economy

Brazil's gross domestic product (GDP) of US$ 2.4 trillion is the largest in Latin America. The nation is the world's largest producer of coffee, oranges and bananas. They are second in soybean and cocoa production, third in corn and beef, fourth in pork and eighth in rice. Much of Brazil's sugarcane is used to make ethyl alcohol. Brazil has a strong industrial sector. Exports are automobiles, textiles, minerals, iron, steel and metals. Other industries include cement and chemicals. Natural resources include coal, nickel, tin, oil, timber and several minerals. Most electric power is generated by hydroelectric dams.

Recreation

The national sport is soccer. Brazil's soccer teams are among the finest in the world. The legendary soccer player, Pele, is from Brazil. Basketball and volleyball are also popular. Because the nation has many fine beaches, boating, fishing and swimming are enjoyed by Brazilians and tourists alike.

The Family

Families are traditionally large and may include the extended family. The family is strong and is led by the father. The mother does have an influence in decisions, however, especially those affecting the home. Children usually only leave the home when they marry and rarely before.

Diet

Breakfast usually consists of coffee with milk, bread, cheese, eggs and butter. Lunch and dinner are the main meals. They include beans, rice, meat, salad, fruit, potatoes and bread. Brazilian food is very tasty.