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Culture and traditions

Brazilian typical costumes

Miscegenation and the cultural mix existing in Brazil has been formed over time and, in it, highlights the European and African influence that has given rise to its striking costumes, including samba attire. Below we show you a list with the most outstanding clothes and their characteristics.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Carnival

Undoubtedly, talking about typical Brazilian costumes implies making special mention of the Brazilian Carnival, a macro event that takes place in the forty days before Easter and that marks the beginning of Lent. The most important carnivals in Brazil are those of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador de Bahía, Recife and the municipality of Olinda.

There is no doubt that the most important thing about this carnival is the costumes that can be seen in it. Although it is true that total nudity is not allowed, it does not matter how much clothes you wear, so it is common to see dancers and dancers with very few or even half-naked clothes. You can get a more accurate idea about the Brazilian carnival with this video:

The Brazilian Carnival has spread to other countries for its fame and spectacular costumes; Thus, for example, within the typical costumes of Argentina, those of the Corrientes Carnival, inspired without a doubt in Brazil, stand out.

The Brazilian Carnival, a spectacle

One of the most characteristic representations of the carnival are the troupes and the blocos (literally, blocks) or cordões, formed by a group of people who disguise themselves according to a specific topic, such as fantasy, Brazilian cuisine, religion, etc.

What is never missing in his outfit are the lights, bright colors, glitters, hand embroidery and a very elaborate makeup. In short, most of these costumes are hand made and its elaboration can take up to a year or even longer.

The blocos or blocks of the Brazilian Carnival

During the Carnival there is no shortage of the shows of samba, the national dance of Brazil. The most important shows of this dance take place in the Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí in Rio de Janeiro, where up to 70,000 people congregate every year.

In addition to the samba, other groups of dancers gather at the Brazilian Carnival to represent other dances and characteristic dances, such as the Meeting of Maracatus and Carnival Mesclado, which takes place in the state of Pernambuco, northeast of Brazil.

It is an Afro-Brazilian-inspired performance that has two subtypes: on the one hand, the Maracatu de nação, the most common national variant, and the Rural maracatu, characterized by a more regional approach. It represents pre-colonial African traditions. In Carnival, about 20 groups of naçãoes they parade in Recife and Olinda.

Maracatu de nação

Junina parties

The Juninas Festivities (Festas Juninas in Portuguese) are a traditional holiday celebrated in Brazil annually during the month of June and in honor of this same month, as its name indicates, because that is when the Winter Solstice in the southern hemisphere of the planet.

Specifically, the holiday period begins on June 13, coinciding with the festival of San Antonio and lasts until June 29, when the festival of San Pedro takes place. On June 24, the day of San Juan is also celebrated.

Typical accessories of the junina parties in Brazil

This party is celebrated with abundant and delicious dishes, musical shows, dances and parades in which the typical costumes attract attention, in which, once again, there is no lack of bright colors, flowers and embroidery. The groups of people who parade at the junina festivities are called quadrilhas (in Spanish, gangs, that is, group of people gathered for certain purposes).

The typical costume of men is the outfit known as forest man, which includes a plaid shirt, patched pants made with different colored fabrics and a straw hat.

As for women, they always wear a calico dress decorated with a lot of silk ribbons, embroidery and floral patterns, and also wear a hat. Both children and adults dress in these costumes and parade in the quadrilhas of the festa junina from your location

Female costume of the Juninas Festival

Salvador of Bahia

Salvador de Bahia or, simply, Salvador, name with which it is usually called in Brazil, is the capital of the state of Bahia and currently has more than one million inhabitants, who are called soteropolitanos.

Since Salvador is the oldest city in Brazil, what has come to this day in cultural terms is a mixture of all the generations that have been going through this city.

Possibly the most influential immigrant group was that of Africans arriving from the Gulf of Benim and Sudan during the 18th century: Yoruban blacks and nagós. This group was the one who finished defining the cultural features of Salvador de Bahia, including the characteristics of their typical costumes.

Capoeira

Salvador's original is the fighting technique that is accompanied by a dance of its own and that is now known throughout the world: capoeira.

This technique is accompanied by an own outfit that is characterized by its simplicity and is composed of pants called worshiped and a shirt both white, and a rope that is tied at the waist. This dance is performed to the rhythm of the typical instruments of Brazil, such as the attack.

Attire to practice capoeira

Baiana

Also, the suit par excellence of Salvador de Bahia is that of the Bahian woman, known as bahiana outfit or baiana. The Baiana woman's costume is due to the Candomblé religion, of Afro-Brazilian origin, and is a symbol of respect for women.

The baianas use long and wide skirts that cover up to the feet combined with white blouses embroidered by hand. As accessories, long beaded necklaces and large earrings of different designs are placed. Taken together, this costume is reminiscent of African indigenous tribes.

There are different types of bahiana costumes depending on the occasion for which they are used. So, the clothing of ração It is the simplest and the one for daily use, while for special events the suit made with Richeleu embroidery is used, in which case the price of the suit can amount to up to fifteen thousand Brazilian reais (BRL).

The pieces that make up a bahiana suit are:

  • Saia or axó: skirt with a small ring to make the movement more comfortable.
  • Camisú: also called mulatto shirt, is white and is adorned with embroidery or lace.
  • Singuê: kind of shawl that is used as a bodice.
  • Calçolão: It is a kind of bermuda that is tied with a drawstring at the waist. To facilitate the movements and it is not uncomfortable to sit down, this cord is quite wide.
  • Pano da Costa: is the cloth of muslin or cretonne fabric that is rolled up in the head as a turban. It is also known as I wish or torso.
Bahiana in typical costume of Salvador de Bahia

Joinville Dance Festival

Joinville is a Brazilian town belonging to the state of Santa Catarina and located north of it. This municipality is characterized by its diversity in terms of performing arts and especially the dances. In fact, it highlights its Dance Festival, in which extraordinary typical costumes can be contemplated. In the following video you can see a performance that took place during the 2013 festival:

The festival in particular is that several dance schools and theater companies present works in different dance modalities, namely: classical ballet, contemporary dance, jazz, folk dances, street dance and zapateado. With such a variety of dances, numerous costumes can be seen in it, from classical ballet attire to dances from other countries in South America and even the world.

Among amateurs, curious and professionals, the number of participants annually amounts to 4,000 and that of the public to 50,000. In short, it is the largest dance student contest in Latin America.

Joinville Dance Festival

Samba

The samba is a Brazilian dance of African origin that has become famous worldwide due to its practice during the Rio de Janeiro carnival at the Sambadrome.

Undoubtedly, one of the aspects that most attracts the attention of this dance is the costume worn by her dancers, which stands out for its bright colors and its less extravagant design and full of sequins, rhinestones, fringes, feathers, etc. In the following video you can see a sambist performing this famous dance:

Actually, the base of the suit can be a simple garment, such as a bikini or female swimsuit or even underwear. On this basic garment, the rest of the decoration is sewn or glued.

The design and colors depend largely on the theme to be referred to during the parade. Thus, to the base that we mentioned above, ornaments are added on the shoulders that reach the bodice, although this is optional, since many dancers leave their torso exposed without support and prefer to opt for the body painting or body paint.

One of the basic rules is that, if a thong is worn at the bottom, its measurement must be at least 4 cm wide or, otherwise, it cannot be paraded at the Carnival.

Female samba costume

Finally, the suit is completed with two other fundamental accessories: the striking helmet made with feathers and rhinestones, and some high heel shoes of more than 10 cm high. The helmet can become a really elaborate element and cover from the head to cover the back completely forming wings.

Beyond these garments, each dancer is free to add as many beads as she wants (bracelets, anklets, bracelets, necklaces, belts …). In short, the female samba costume can become really provocative and majestic at the same time.

As for the mens, the suit does not have as much worldwide fame as in the case of women's attire. The most characteristic of the sambista is that he always has a naked torso and, at the bottom, they can wear pants with leg openings so that they are partially covered, or simply a loincloth of ethnic design, with feathers and rhinestones.

In the head they can also wear a helmet similar to that of women, although less elaborate. Since samba dancers and dancers usually go out in pairs to dance samba, it is very common that their costumes go together with each other.

Man and woman samba suit

Amazon

The vast majority of indigenous communities in South America are concentrated in the Amazon rainforest. Specifically, in the state of Amazonas (Brazil) is where the highest concentration of native towns in this corner of the planet is found, among which the Yaguas tribe.

During the celebration of their traditional rites, you can see some costumes formed by a kind of long mat skirt made with yanchama, an ancient fiber obtained from the tree I hoped widely used in the Amazon area, or they can also be aguaje, a very common fruit in the Amazon rainforest.

These skirts are usually combined with some bangles which can be made of animal teeth, seeds and feathers, or watering. The torso is usually naked or simply decorated with a necklace in the case of women and girls. In addition, it is common to paint the face with a red dye that is extracted from the fruit of the achiote (also known as urucu or onoto).

The costumes of the Yaguas tribe of Amazonas (Brazil)

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