Local traditions and culture in Rio de Janeiro

  • Firework display
    Firework display
    by MM212
  • Local Customs
    by MM212
  • Pleasant lifestyke in Niteroi
    Pleasant lifestyke in Niteroi
    by RafaelTheSecond

Most Viewed Local Customs in Rio de Janeiro

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    Hearts of Palm

    by b1bob Updated Aug 21, 2012

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    The sabal palmetto is grown, harvested, and canned as a cash crop throughout Central and South America, especially Brazil. It needs 150 inches (375 cm.) of rainfall each year to flourish, and can't take cold weather. It is harvested at a year or at a height of 5 feet (1.5 m.) Hearts of palm used to be a staple in a poor man's diet, but it became a gourmet delicacy. It might not look like much, but hearts of palm is a healthy addition to salads as they have no cholesterol, good fiber content, hardly any fat, and are low in calories.

    hearts of palm
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    by DAO Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The people of Brazil speak Portuguese as a legacy of their colonial past. Here are a few phrases to get you started!

    Olá Hi
    Bom dia Good morning
    Boa tarde Good afternoon
    Boa noite Good night
    Como está? How are you?
    Muito bem, obrigada Very well, thanks
    Obrigada Thanks (for a woman)
    Obrigado Thanks (for a man)
    Adeus Goodbye
    Tchau Bye
    Até logo See you later

    Related to:
    • Cruise
    • Backpacking
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Sth. on Poverty...

    by Groentje Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    My friend told me that it is really hard to escape poverty in an honest way once you're inside that circle. Let me give you an example. When someone wants to set up a business, he needs to be able to proove that he has money to back it, or that he owns a house. Absolutely no one in the favelas owns a house or has a lot of (legal) money, so that's already one chance blown...
    Many of the poor people just wander the streets and drink, or sniff glue. Others collect cans, bottles, cardboard and paper, just to go off and sell it.
    And this in a city where some families cook for ten when they are only with four, just throwing away what remains.
    Strange thought came to my mind over there: here in Belgium, we have stray cats and dogs, but in Rio, for the first time I saw stray people! Even on the roads, really busy roads, people just not knowing where they are going, just wandering the streets. In tunnels, unknowing people...
    Funny thing is that they still seem to enjoy themselves despite of all the hardship; Cariocas seem to be used to them as well.

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    Give your leftover food to a homeless person.

    by cachaseiro Written Aug 9, 2010

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    The portions in brazilian restaurants are generally enormous and you are very likely to not eat everything when you go out in the evening.
    If you don´t want the food to go to waste then you can ask the waiter to give you the rest of the food in a doggy bag.
    They will then arrabge it all on a plastic plate like a meal and put it in a bag and then if you pass a homeless person in the street on the way home then you can pass the food to that person so he/she gets dinner that night aswell.
    This is a very common thing to do in Rio because there is a big problem with homeless people living without any financial support.

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    • Food and Dining

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    New Year's Eve

    by npsdguy Updated Jan 13, 2010

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    You should wear white on New Year's Eve. When some Brazilian friends of ours found out that we would be in Rio for New Year's Eve they told us that we had to wear white. We weren't too sure about this at first, but we're glad we took notice. On New Year's Eve just about everyone wears white, with an accent color. It is all in honor of an African Goddess of the sea, to whom the locals make offerings for good look and prosperity in the new year. You can wear accent colors such as red for love, yellow for wealth and green for health. You should never wear black! People also buy flowers and throw them in the sea as a gift to the goddess. On the night and down on the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema you can see many people giving praise, singing and dancing to the goddess and walking down to the waters edge to cast their flowers into the sea.
    We're glad we took our whites with us and participated in the fun, it was a great experience!

    Related to:
    • Festivals

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    Surf Dress

    by JohnniOmani Written Dec 12, 2009

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    Most of your issues in Brazil can easily be solved if you decide to dress like a local while in the beach areas of Rio De Janeiro, Paraty etc. First of all, Brazilians dont dress like Americas, Canadians or British people. Brazilians wear surf board shorts, a funky t shirt and sandals (Havaianas and nothing else), shades and thats about it. No baseball hats, hoodies, running shoes or baseball/basketball/hockey sweaters. Women wear loose cotton clothing and sandals. Dressing like a Brazilian is easy and an easy way not to stand out and attract attention. If you dont have any of these items then wait til you get to Brazil to go shopping. There are stores everywhere. First item on the list should be sandals/flip flops ;)

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    by MM212 Updated Jan 31, 2009

    One of the largest celebrations in Rio, only second to Carnival, Réveillon takes place on the spectacular beach of Copacabana. Although borrowed from French, Réveillon is the Portuguese word for New Year's Eve. An estimated 2 million people head to the beach at night, dressed in white and carrying flowers for the sea goddess Yamanjá, who is often referred to as Serena Dama do Mar and portrayed as a pretty, but very vain, goddess (see attached for a photo of a statue of hers in Copacabana). The flowers are thrown in the ocean immediately before the midnight hour with the hope that Yamanjá would grant the wish in the coming year. An incredible bouquet of fire works immediately lights up the skies to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. Many people stay on the beach well into the night dancing, singing and drinking champagne. The lucky hotels and apartments with ocean views along Copacabana have their own private parties. This is a totally safe event and very enjoyable. Remember: dress in white, but add a yellow accessory if you want money or prosperity, green for good health, pink for love, and red for passion! (I think I got the colours right…).

    Firework display The pretty Serena Dama do Mar

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    Hanging Orchids

    by MM212 Updated Jan 30, 2009

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    The streets of Ipanema are lined with majestic tropical trees. I noticed that Brazilians have a beautiful habit of growing a variety of orchids on those trees, just as they grow naturally in the jungle. Attached are some photos.

    Hanging Orchids

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    Try the feijoada

    by b1bob Updated Oct 8, 2008

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    Feijoada is the Brazilian national dish. It is a mix of black beans, pork and sausage, served with collard greens and an orange slice. It originated from the Brazilian slaves. While the lords would eat the good stuff, the slaves would get rest and they who would mix it together with black beans. Traditionally every last piece of the pig would go in there including the tail, nose, and tongue, but it is most common in Brazil and around the world to use prime pieces such as bacon and ham. Here's one way (on many) to do it:

    8 cups dried black beans
    2 pounds link sausage
    2 pounds baby back spareribs
    2 bay leaves
    1 large onion
    2 cloves garlic
    3 tablespoons olive oil

    The night before, soak the beans in a large bowl of water to cover at least 3-4 inches. The following morning, drain the beans and place in a large pot of water to cover by at least 3 inches. Bring the beans to a boil at medium heat.

    Meantime, cut the sausage into 1-inch pieces. Cut the ribs into 2 rib sections.

    Add the sausage, ribs and bay leaves to the beans. Simmer for about 2 hours or until soft), stitirring from time to time, adding water as necessary to keep the beans covered. Mind the beans so they don't burn at the bottom.

    Chop the onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until golden brown. Add 2 ladlefuls of beans and mash them. Put this back into the pot. It will thicken and season the beans. Continue to simmer gently for at least another hour, adding water as necessary. A good feijoada should have a creamy consistency when done. Remove the bay leaves. To add a touch of authenticity, serve the feijoada and garnishes in ceramic bowls and platters if you have them.

    To serve, put a mound of rice on your plate and place a ladleful or two on top. Arrange orange slices and kale on the sides.


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    Rio locals

    by alex2905 Written Apr 22, 2008

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    You will have great fun here. Not many people speak English, but they are friendly and will do thei best to help you around. If I can help you anyway, just let me know. I am a Carioca! Have a great trip and enjoy Rio!

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    by RafaelTheSecond Written Mar 13, 2008

    And for the best...When I stared this page...these high middle class condominiuns did not exist!!! :)

    Now Boa Viagem is one of the best neighborhoods in Niteroi, this is the place where you can visit the CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM - MAC.

    Real State in Niteroi is still cheaper than Rio, and the city still keeps its charm!


    MARCH 13TH 2008

    Pleasant lifestyke in Niteroi

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    by toonsarah Written Jan 27, 2008

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    At regular intervals along Copacabana, Ipanema and the other beaches you will find little stalls selling refreshments (48 on Avenida Atlântica alone). The standard international soft drinks are available, as is beer and small snacks, but the local thirst-quencher of choice is definitely coconut juice, known as Coco Gelado. Place your order and the stall-holder will select a large coconut from his display, slash off the base with a machete (to make it sit firmly on the table), turn it over and make several slashes in the top, then insert a straw so that you can enjoy a refreshing drink straight from the shell. After you drink the juice you can ask the man to split the nut for you to get at the meat. He will hit it even harder than before with the machete while holding it on the palm of his hand – those of a nervous disposition should look away!

    I’ve never been over-fond of coconut, but in this setting I found myself really enjoying this treat and it remains one of my abiding memories of Rio.

    While sitting there it’s likely that you’ll be approached by kids wanting to sell you peanuts. There’s a system here that you need to understand. The seller will put a small square of paper on the table in front of you and place a couple of peanuts carefully on it. He (they are usually boys) will then wander around the other tables and repeat the task before returning to you. If you've eaten the free samples, you'll be expected to buy a paper cone of nuts, freshly heated. Otherwise the nuts go back in the sample case.

    Coconuts on Copacabana Enjoying coconut juice (blame Chris for my pose!)

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    Sunday at Copacabana

    by toonsarah Written Jan 27, 2008

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    For six days of the week the Avenida Atlântica which runs the length of Copacabana Beach is, like any other city centre street, busy with traffic filling all lanes of its dual carriageway. But on a Sunday it becomes a one-way street, with half of the road given over to local people to enjoy a walk by the sea. And not just a walk – cars and other motor vehicles may be banned, but you’ll see plenty of other wheeled “methods of transport”, from roller skates and skateboards to children’s pedal cars and trikes. I thought this was a lovely idea, and the families making the most of the opportunity to meet their friends and enjoy a relaxing Sunday stroll obviously agreed. There was a lovely weekend atmosphere and it was a great day on which to be visiting the beach, so if you get a similar opportunity I recommend you get out there and enjoy a Sunday constitutional with the locals!

    Sunday on Copacabana (photo by Chris)

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    by RafaelTheSecond Written Nov 12, 2007

    One of the most famous AND NOT SO POPULAR attractions of Rio is also part of school subjects of our children. Since they start at school they are taught about the HIstory of Rio and it is also a way to make all the population to know their treasures!

    THE CLASSROOM is always outside school!!!


    So the art of receiving we learn from early school!

    NOVEMBER 2007

    Learning where the History Happens

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    by marcbrazil Written Oct 25, 2007

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    Rafael, my big big big bi big big big big big fiend told me that our VT FRIEND and famous member Deecat loves cats and gardens. Specially CATS we must say!!!

    As I am a cat lover and so does Rafael, one of Rafael's dreams is going to Africa just to spot lions, jaguars, chettahs in the wilderness.

    So we decide to show to everybody here the cats of the house!!!

    Here I am with the HOSTER...Ferrugem, he is the public ralation in Rafael's apartment!!!!

    Ferrugem always insist that we have to be HIS BED!!!

    OCTOBER 2007

    Me and Ferrugem, the king of the House! IT IS ME AGAIN AND fERRUGEM ON TOP

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