Every culture is different from the other and we should all respect that. However, we can’t help but notice some habits that are not similar to the ones we are used to. In Brazil, for instance, people are very affectionate, even with people they do not know. That may cause some hesitation for foreigners who are not used to have physical contact with strangers.
Brazilian culture shares many similarities with other Latin countries. However, some Brazilian habits are very unusual for foreigners from North America, Asia, and Europe.
Let’s check a few Brazilian habits foreigners may find to be weird:
Brushing teeth at work
Dentists say you should brush your teeth after every meal. And Brazilians do follow this rule, no questions asked. It is not unusual to see Brazilians bringing their toothbrush to work. They usually brush their teeth after lunch and continue with their day with a healthy and clean smile. If you work in Brazil, you have already probably seen people brushing their teeth in the workplace bathroom. Sometimes Brazilian brush their teeth even in the shopping mall restroom facilities.
Trash bins in the bathroom
If you have already read our blog post 10 Things You Need To Know Before Going To Rio de Janeiro, you have learned that the sewage system in Brazil is not so powerful. That is why you should not flush toilet paper, feminine products, and paper towels down the toilet. All bathrooms in Brazil have a small trash bin right beside the toilet where you must discard your papers and trash. That goes for bathrooms at home and in business buildings as well. Many foreigners find it weird that they need to deal with a bin full of poo paper right beside them. But don’t worry, we do change the trash bags quite often!
Too many showers a day
Even though bathing every day is a common habit in most countries nowadays, Brazilians take it to the next level. The average Brazilian showers at least twice a day. Once before going to work and once before bed. During the humid summer days, Brazilians may take three or four showers a day.
Skipping on showers is not acceptable in the Brazilian culture. Not even during colder days. Not even if you stayed in bed all day long.
As teacher Josie mentioned in her IGTV video about the indigenous influences in the Brazilian culture, when the Portuguese first came to Brazil, they started picking up some habits from the indigenous people living here. One of these habits was bathing every day. The rest is history and it is now a big part of our culture.
Rice and beans every day
What kind of person eats the same thing every day? Well… Most people in Brazil eat rice and beans every day, for lunch AND dinner. It is a cultural thing. Studies have shown that the traditional Brazilian meal composed of rice and beans is actually the perfect combination for a nutritional meal. Together, rice and beans are a powerful, healthy combo, full of protein, iron, and amino acids.
Being the base of every meal in Brazilian homes, rice and beans are usually served with some kind of meat and a side dish, usually a vegetable.
Too many carbs!
Many foreigners notice that Brazilians tend to mix too many carbohydrates in just one meal. It is very common to see people eating rice, potato, and farofa as a side dish for a lunch meal, for example. Even though it may not seem like a healthy choice, that is just a usual thing to see in the Brazilian routine.
Even though many people consider the avocado to be a vegetable, it is not. It is a fruit. And, in Brazil, it is treated as so. It is very uncommon to see Brazilians eating an avocado toast or adding avocados to their salad. As a matter of fact, Brazilians love to drink avocado smoothies made with milk and sugar. Avocado ice cream is also very popular.
Physical contact and calling people by their first name
When meeting people for the first time, do not expect them to shake your hands. Instead, they will hug you and kiss you on the cheek. Brazilians are very affectionate and they usually touch other people a lot, even if you are not that close.
Another Brazilian habit most foreigners find weird is that Brazilians call everyone by their first names. Yes, even their teachers, bosses, doctors, in-laws…
Have you already notice most Brazilian football players are called by their first names as well? That is just how it is. Brazilians even call their presidents by their first names.
If you feel like you need to be more respectful to a person, though, you can simply add an honorific before their first names. The most common honorifics in Brazilian Portuguese are ‘senhor’, ‘senhora’, ‘seu’, and ‘dona’.
What do you think?
Do you think these Brazilian habits are weird at all? Have you ever tasted an avocado smoothie? Do you call your mother-in-law by her first name? Have you considered brushing your teeth at work? Let us know in the comments below.