Category Archives: Culture

Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Flamengo's blazon by George Vale/Flickr
Flamengo’s blazon by George Vale/Flickr

If the main Brazilian soccer teams were people, Corinthians and Flamengo would be a brave and joyful youngster, while Botafogo and São Paulo would be reliable, polite, sophisticated middle aged men.

GfK, an important market research specialist, interviewed 1.000 Brazilians in 12 major cities for the study “Patrocínio de Futebol e Personalidade de Marca” (Soccer Sponsors and Brand Personality). They had to associate a list of qualities to the name of the main 11 teams – Atlético Mineiro, Botafogo, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Flamengo, Fluminense, Grêmio, Internacional, Palmeiras, Santos, São Paulo and Vasco. They were supposed to describe both the teams they supported and others. Continue reading Study reveals the personality of Brazilian soccer teams

Dzi Croquettes – Rio’s revolutionary cabaret

936full-dzi-croquettes-poster “Not men, not women. People”, was their revolutionary motto. They were the Dzi Croquettes, an irreverent androgynous theater company directed by Broadway chorus line dancer Lennie Dale that defied the dictatorship and inspired a whole generation of carioca artists. The so-called besteirol theatre (anarchic, hilarious and politically incorrect) and several slang words and expressions ( Tá boa, santa?) are remnants of their influence.

They became so popular that their performances were finally forbidden, and they decided to tour Europe, where they conquered Paris and even appeared in a Claude Lelouch’s movie. “When I die, I want my show substituted by the Dzi Croquettes”, said legendary diva Josephine Baker. Continue reading Dzi Croquettes – Rio’s revolutionary cabaret

The weirdest Brazilian names

Ever wondered why famous Brazilian satirist Millôr Fernandes got such a bizarre name?

Here is the story, told by Millôr himself: his parents wanted to call him Milton, but the notary, semi-literate, like so many, misunderstood their writing. Everything went well in the first three letters. Then, because the T was not properly cut, he interpreted it as an L. The cut of the T became the accent over the O. And the N became an R. MILLÔR.

In my own family I had a few such stories. The best one: my aunt was registered in Porto Alegre as Guinda, when her name was supposed to be Gilda. The family would say, as a consolation prize, that there was effectively somewhere in Europe a type of prune called guinda…

Naturally, notaries are not the only ones to blame for bizarre christenings. Some Brazilian families are way beyond creative. Take the Rosados, influencial in Rio Grande do Norte state in the first half of last century. Patriarch Jerônimo Rosado, a pharmacist, decided to number his many, many boys, in French. First boy, Un Rosado. Second, Deux Rosado. And so on till Vingt-un, the 21st.

Also, let’s not forget the Brazilian saint patrons of bizarre names, guitar player Pepeu Gomes and singer Baby do Brasil, formerly known as Baby Consuelo, that conceived and named ‘Riroca, Nana Shara, Zabelê, Pedro Baby and Krishna Baby (previously mentioned in the post What’s in a Brazilian name?)

A Brazilian blog, Rei da Cocada Preta, made a list of absurdities, found mainly in public records and books. Some are really tough to believe. Among them:

Abrilina Décima Nona Caçapavana Piratininga de Almeida (a lady obviously born in Caçapava, a city of the state of São Paulo, on April 19).

Aeronauta Barata (Aeronaut Cockroach)

Agrícola Beterraba Areia (Agricultural Beet Sand)

Amável Pinto (Adorable Chick/Penis)

Amazonas Rio do Brasil Pimpão

Amin Amou Amado

Antonio Manso Pacífico de Oliveira Sossegado (a very, very calm and pacific man)

Antônio Morrendo das Dores (dying of pain?)

Antônio Querido Fracasso (dear unsuccess?)

Antônio Veado Prematuro (premature deer?)

Arquiteclínio Petrocoquínio de Andrade

Ava Gina (an homage to Ava Gardner and Gina Lolobrigida – and also to the feminine anatomy)

Barrigudinha Seleida (A girl with a somewhat prominent belly)

Baruel de Itaparica Boré Fomi de Tucunduvá

Bizarro Assada

Cafiaspirina Cruz (inspired by the caffeinated aspirine)

Caso Raro Yamada

Céu Azul do Sol Poente (this one would be popular in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived till a few days ago, a hippie haven where you meet girls called Sunday Peaches and Sunset)

Chevrolet da Silva Ford

Colapso Cardíaco da Silva

Comigo é Nove na Garrucha Trouxada

Disney Chaplin Milhomem de Souza

Estácio Ponta Fina Amolador

Éter Sulfúrico Amazonino Rios

Faraó do Egito Sousa (yes, you got it right: Egypt’s pharaon)

Finólila Piaubilina

Flávio Cavalcante Rei da Televisão (a reference to a famously bad tempered TV host)

Graciosa Rodela D’alho

Himineu Casamenticio das Dores Conjugais (delicious name that refers to the marital pains)

Holofontina Fufucas

Hypotenusa Pereira

Ilegível Inilegível

Inocêncio Coitadinho

Janeiro Fevereiro de Março Abril (January, February of March, April)

João Cara de José (he is João, but looks like a José)

Joaquim Pinto Molhadinho

José Casou de Calças Curtas (José married in short pants)

Letsgo Daqui (Let’s go away)

Manoel de Hora Pontual

Marciano Verdinho das Antenas Longas (Greenie martian of long feelers)

Maria da Segunda Distração (Second distraction Maria. I suppose the parents forgot to use a condom for the second time)

Maria Privada de Jesus (Jesus toilet Maria)

Maria Tributina Prostituta Cataerva


Naida Navinda Navolta Pereira

Napoleão Sem Medo e Sem Mácula

Natal Carnaval

Necrotério Pereira da Silva

Olinda Barba de Jesus

Orlando Modesto Pinto

Otávio Bundasseca

Pacífico Armando Guerra

Padre Filho do Espírito Santo Amém

Pália Pélia Pólia Púlia dos Guimarães Peixoto

Penha Pedrinha Bonitinha da Silva

Peta Perpétua de Ceceta

Plácido e Seus Companheiros

Primeira Delícia Figueiredo Azevedo

Primavera Verão Outono Inverno

Produto do Amor Conjugal de Marichá e Maribel

Rolando Caio da Rocha (Rolling fell from the rock – Rolando is indeed a name, but also the verb to roll)

Rolando Escadabaixo (Rolling down the stairs)

Rômulo Reme Remido Rodó

Rodrigo Falecido de Brasil

Simplício Simplório da Simplicidade Simples

Soraiadite das Duas a Primeira (from Two, One)

Última Delícia do Casal Carvalho (Last Delight of the Carvalho Couple)

Último Vaqueiro (Last Cowboy)

Um Dois Três de Oliveira Quatro (One Two Three Oliveira Four)

Veneza Americana do Recife (Recife, the American Venice)

Vicente Mais ou Menos de Souza (more or less)

Vitória Carne e Osso (flesh and bones)

12 best characters of Brazilian literature

“Reinações de Narizinho”, Monteiro Lobato’s book that introduces the character of Emília and launches children’s literature in the country.


Listas Literárias blog asked its readers what were the greatest characters of Brazilian literature. I tend to agree with the results and organized the names in no particular order.


1 – Macunaíma – “Hero without character” conceived by Mario de Andrade in the crazy and iconoclastic twenties. A playful Black man born fully grown from a Amazonian Native mother, he becomes white after bathing in a miraculous spring and moves to Rio where he gets involved with social turmoil.
Grande Otelo incarnates Macunaíma in the 1969 film by Joaquim Pedro de Andrade

Conversation with photographer Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado, author of memorable images that portrait the reality of labor, migrations, landless farmers and daily life in all continents, is one of the most accomplished Brazilian photographers. And one of the very few that really made it internationally.

In this 2005 event at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, he presents some of his best pictures  and discusses the social and political role of photography. His interview, that takes a while to really take off, lasts 1h30 and is conducted by adjunct professor Ken Light and Photo Critic and Curator Fred Ritchin.

What Brazilian pepper is the hottest

The German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, who visited Brazil in early 19th century, said that “chilis are as essential to Natives as salt is for the White”. Till these days, chilis are present in every day diet of a huge portion of the country’s population and it essential to Afro-Brazilian rituals.

Of course, chili peppers are not all born the same – and their sexiness is, to large extent, related to their capacity of making one suffer. Take the hottest pepper in the world, the Trinidad Scorpion Butch T Pepper. It scores 1,463,700 in the Scoville heat unit scale, which is based on the presence of capsaicin, the active molecule of chili. In comparison, a green pepper would get a zero and the habanero chili would be somewhere between 100,000 and 350,000.

What about Brazilian peppers, so praised for their power of bringing tears to the eyes of the bravest machos? In the country, you find a variety that includes sweet, mild dedo-de-moça (girl’s finger) and heavy metal cumari, that reaches 300,000 in the Scoville scale.

Here is the basic Brazilian chili menu:

Malagueta – a variety of Capsicum frutescens, very popular in Brazil, specially in Bahia, but also appreciated in Portugal, Mozambique and Cape Verde. Somewhere between 50,000 and 150,000 in Scoville scale. It is planted mainly in the states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and Goiás.

Biquinho – This Capsicum chinense scores mere 1.000 and is generally used in sauces or preserves, mainly in the state of Minas Gerais.

Cumari – It can be either the very hot variety of Capsicum baccatum, planted in the Southeast, or cumari-do-Pará, a yellow, round Capsicum chinense, way hotter than biquinho and also used in preserves.

Dedo-de-moça – Another Capsicum baccatum, long and delicate like a girl’s’ pinkie.

Pimenta-de-cheiro – A Capsicum chinense with long fruit that can be yellow or black and with varying levels of heat.

Main sources – Embrapa and a study by Raquel Zancanaro, from Universidade de Brasília.

Read also: 7 Brazilian comfort foods, 7 Brazilian fruits that could be the next açaí, Brazil and food, a love story and 10 unforgettable Brazilian dishes


Coffee brigadeiro – the crossing of two national passions

Photo and yummy sweet by Luciene Evans
by Luciene Evans*

I have been told I created a recipe that promises to become a new traditional candy on the tables of kids’ birthday parties.

It happened like this: while organizing my daughter’s birthday party, I learned that one of the children I invited was allergic to chocolate, peanut and coconut. These are the main ingredients in the three most famous and traditional Brazilian candies we serve at birthday parties in Brazil – brigadeiro, cajuzinho and beijinho. I was planning to serve all these during my girl’s party, but I decided I would make something different, that the allergic kid could eat without risk, and, at the same time, something everybody else would enjoy as well.

After some thought, I came up with an idea for a recipe that combined the traditional brigadeiro with our passion for coffee, and made a “brigadeiro de café/ coffee brigadeiro”. Of course, there are other recipes of brigadeiro de café out there, but they include chocolate, nuts and even coffee liqueur. Kind of complicated, isn’t it? Mine has much less ingredients, is equally delicious, and so easy everybody can make. Check it out!

1 cup condensed milk
½ cup table cream
3 teaspoons instant powder coffee (I prefer decaf for the kids)

Mix all ingredients in a medium pan and take to medium flame. Do not stop stirring till the mix gets loose from the bottom of the pan. Let it cool off. Pass some butter on your hands and make little balls with the mix. You can roll the candies on decorative sugar, and put them in individual bonbon forms.

Ah, and if you put less coffee, it will taste like caramel. This means you can use the same ingredients to make two different candies. Cool, isn’t it?

Read also: 6 Brazilian cakes, Brazilian coffee – children’s delight and 7 Brazilian comfort foods.

* Luciene Evans is a Brazilian journalist that writes children literature and loves to throw parties.