The people of Brazil are as varied as their environments. Those living in the Amazon Rainforest are peaceful, quiet and respectful. In Rio de Janeiro, the people are generally joyful and physically expressive, often greeting each other with kisses.

Travelers to Brazil will hear Portuguese, the official language, plus Spanish, English and French.

The majority of Brazilians are Catholic, with other Christian religions following.

Due to its size and cultural diversity, Brazil is truly deserving of the name "Land of Contrasts." The traditions of the people of the Amazon Rainforest vary greatly from those of the carioca - natives of Rio de Janeiro.Largely isolated from the influence of the people outside of their villages, the natives of the Amazon Rainforest still live by their age-old traditions. Now, they welcome visitors into their homes to share their unique culture and simple ways of life. In Rio, you'll find a bustling excitement in the air. Soccer is the main focus of most Brazilians, with the exception of the four days leading up to Lent, when Carnival takes over. The fervor that the people throw into celebrations for both Carnival and soccer is exuberant and riotous.

Brazilian cuisine is based on traditional, European and African influences, and varies greatly by region. Main ingredients include fresh local produce, beans, seafood and beef. Some favorite dishes are feijoada, a bean, beef and pork stew; picadinho, minced meat; grilled fillet, rice and beans; farofa, a toasted flour mixture; seafood; galeto, roasted chicken; and French fries, commonly called Filé à Osvaldo Aranha. Also popular is the churrasco, a Brazilian barbecue. The national beverage is coffee. Brazil's native alcohol is cachaça, distilled from sugar cane and the main ingredient in the national cocktail, caipirinha.

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