As Rio de Janeiro prepares to host the world’s best athletes at the 2016 Olympic Games, spectators, tourists and business professionals are excitedly packing their bags, checking their tickets and getting ready to descend on one of the world’s most beautiful countries. Like most of South America, Brazil enjoys incredible scenery and landscapes, from the long, sprawling beaches of Copacabana to its rugged mountain ranges.
Olympics fans lucky enough to be heading to Brazil to support their team can enjoy Rio's rich culture and traditions to the full with a few simple etiquette tips:
General greeting and conversation:
Much of Brazil’s social etiquette is based on a strong level of trust and sense of family. Families tend to be quite large and very close, especially the extended family. Unlike some other countries and cultures, the practice of favouring relatives or friends suggests that trust is the main focus and of primary importance.
Meeting and Greeting:
When meeting someone for the first time in Brazil, the greeting depends on how well you know the person.
Conversation and communication across Brazil is usually relaxed and quite informal.
Invitations and gift-giving:
Whether you’re visiting Brazil as a tourist or for business, you may be invited to an event or party. Although gift-giving in Brazil is not as ritualistic as for some Eastern cultures, there is still an level of etiquette that those being hosted should observe.
Unlike in the UK, punctuality is not strictly adhered to in social situations in Brazil.
If a dress code is not stated on the invitation, it is always better to err on the side of formality than under-dressing. Although Brazilians tend to dress casually, they will do so with elegance and with flair, and judgment is often passed on others’ appearance. Visitors, therefore, should take note and dress accordingly.
If invited to a social occasion, you should present the hostess with a small gift, usually flowers.
James Brookes, illustrations by Wing Po