Introduction to Brazil
There’s a reason global eyes are on Brazil at the moment and it’s not just because of the country’s impressive economic growth over the past decade, vast resources or its stunning natural attributes (as opposed to the enhanced ones!). A hotspot for music, fashion, art and plastic surgery trends, Brazilian culture is taking over the Western world, whether that’s in the form of footwear, swimwear or personal grooming.
As the biggest country in South America, and a Portuguese-speaking one at that, Brazil is renowned for its cultural and geographical diversity. It’s a country that boasts world-renowned areas of vast wilderness and unique eco systems in the Amazon and Pantanal plus savannahs, plains and mountains with breathtakingly high waterfalls, as well as colonial architecture from Portuguese settlements dating back to the late 16th century and futuristic modernist buildings. The country also acknowledges a brutal past based on slave labour from Africa with newer waves of immigration forming sizeable communities of Italians, Germans, Spaniards and Japanese.
This multicultural mix is celebrated in the month-long, pre-Lenten celebration of Carnival where music, dance, religion, food and community come together to showcase the national identity. That’s not to say everything is all fluffy feathers and sequins in Brazil. Decades of military rule has created a divide between rich and poor where a high crime rate and crowded favelas sit uneasily next to shiny high rises and designer labels in the cities.