According to itypetravel, the country’s name goes back to the red Brazil wood that the Portuguese colonizers exported to Europe as a dye for fabrics. In Brazilian culture, European, African and Indian traditions are indissolubly fused together. Today, the African culture is particularly widespread in the states of Bahia and Maranhão, while the European influence is particularly noticeable in the south of the country. In some southern states, the German-Brazilians keep their language and their cultural heritage to this day.
European style elements from Baroque and Rococo were adopted in the architecture. This is particularly evident in the church rooms, which are lavishly decorated with gold-plated carvings. The magnificent opera house in Manaus has a neoclassical facade and an Art Nouveau interior. The world-famous architect of the capital Brasília, which was designed on the drawing board, is O. Niemeyer . His buildings, including the cathedral (1958–70), had a lasting influence on Brazilian architecture.
The bestselling author P. Coelho shapes the image of the latest Brazilian literature. The main theme of his works is the individual and spiritual search for personal happiness. The fairytale novel “O alquimista” (1988; German ” The Alchemist “) is about the treasure hunt of an Andalusian shepherd and made Coelho famous. The film and theater festivals in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Porto Alegre, the Book Biennale in Rio de Janeiro and the Art Biennale in São Paulo enjoy international renown.
The Brazilian music is very versatile and combines the Música Popular Brasileira (MPB) traditional music with rock, pop and jazz. Important styles are Samba, Bossa Nova, Capoeira and Tropicália. An important contemporary musician is the guitarist G. Gil who made the bossa nova world famous and served as minister of culture from 2003-08. During the carnival season, the whole of Brazil is attacked by the samba fever. Samba is of African origin and the main dance of the world famous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. During these days, the city on the Sugar Loaf is transformed into a single party with costume balls, live concerts and the large parades of the opulently costumed samba dancers. The street carnival represents the Brazilian people’s attitude towards life and their bodies, like the national and popular sport of football. Football also has a religious character and the ease of the Brazilian way of playing is legendary. The national team is the most successful in the world; Pelé and the Maracanã Stadium are modern myths.
Capoeira: dance and fighting technique
Capoeira has its origins in the dances of black African slaves who were carried off to the Brazilian sugar cane plantations. In the Brazilian state of Bahia, the African cultural elements have been preserved most purely. The slaves, mostly from the Yoruba people, had transformed their dances into a defense technique in which the body could be used as a weapon. Instruments were played to camouflage the combat training. At the beginning of the 19th century, more and more capoeiristas came to the cities, where they could hide in the temples of Candomblé and protect them in return. The Candomblé is one of the Afro-Brazilian religions, their deities are the Orishas.
Capoeira is performed in a circle (»roda«) made up of musicians and dancers between two dancers. It begins with a short song (»chula«) in which the singer introduces himself. The chula is followed by a slow, rhythmic hymn of praise (»ladeinha«) to one of the Orisha deities or in honor of a capoeira master. The choir of dancers and musicians answers the solo of the cantor. Only after this introduction does the fight dance begin and use the percussion instruments, typical are berimbau, tambourine and agogo. Their tense rhythms drive the capoeiristas and provide a stimulating musical framework. Usually the berimbau player is also the lead singer, who coordinates the rhythms and the actions of the dancers at the same time. This is done with the help of fast songs, the »corridas« and »quadras«. Corridas drive the plot forward, as it were, quadras are simple, four-stanza songs. A characteristic of this type of song is the fast rhythm.
The dance begins very slowly, the two dancers feel each other in slow motion, highly concentrated and tense down to their fingertips. Finally, the atabaques take over the rhythm, now the movements become faster and more targeted. However, hits are only hinted at. Attacks, feinting, counter-attacks and handstand strokes alternate in rapid succession, dramatically accentuated by the whipping blows of thin whips on the skins of small drums. The focus is on the coordinated movements of the capoeiristas.
Today two different styles can be distinguished: Capoeira de Angola and Capoeira Regional. The Capoeira de Angola, which is shaped by the African tradition, remains close to the ground, the slow evasive movements dominate, while the Capoeira Regional, recognizable by the numerous offensive jumps, is more sport than ritual and has also integrated Asian fighting techniques. In general, there are many mixed forms of the two basic directions today. Numerous steps and figures have now been established. For example, a distinction is made between the Golpes, thrusts directed forward, from the Ginga, a kind of rocking of the body or rocking alternating steps.
Capoeira first spread in Brazil and in the course of globalization spread to the USA and Europe, meanwhile there are also Capoeira centers in German cities.
World Heritage Sites in Brazil
World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)
- Old town of Ouro Preto (K; 1980)
- Old town of Olinda (K; 1982)
- Iguaçu National Park (N; 1984)
- Jesuit missions of the Guaraní: ruins of the São Miguel church in the city of São Miguel das Missões (K; 1984)
- Old town of Salvador (K; 1985)
- Pilgrimage church “Bom Jesus de Matozinhos” by Congonhas (K; 1985)
- Brasília (K; 1987)
- Serra da Capivara National Park (K; 1991)
- Old town of São Luís (K; 1997)
- Historic city center of Diamantina (K; 1999)
- Rainforest area of the “Coast of Discovery” (“Costa do Descobrimento”) (N; 1999)
- Southeast Atlantic Forests (N; 1999)
- Central Amazon protected area with Jaú National Park (N; 2000)
- Pantanal wetland (N; 2000)
- Historic city center of Goiânia (K; 2001)
- National parks Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas (N; 2001)
- Island Reserve Fernando de Noronha / Rocas Atoll (N; 2001)
- São Francisco Square in São Cristovão (K; 2010)
- Cultural landscape Rio de Janeiro (K; 2012)
- Ensemble of modernity in Pampulha, district of Belo Horizonte (K; 2016)
- Historic port facility Valongo in Rio de Janeiro (K; 2017)