Category Archives: Folklore

Scary Brazilian lullabies

Photo by Alan L/Flickr
Photo by Alan L/Flickr

Most Brazilian lullabies and children songs are scary like hell. Some of them are not exactly child-appropriate. Or human-appropriate.

Check this hit parade:

  • The big classic “Atirei o Pau no Gato”, that says: I hit a cat with a stick, but he didn’t die. Mrs. Chica was surprised by the cat’s cry.
  • What about the morbid “A Canoa Virou“: the canoe turned down, because someone let it happen: [name of the kid] didn’t know how to row. If I were a little fish and knew how to swim, I would rescue [the kid] from the bottom of the sea. Continue reading Scary Brazilian lullabies

How to get a husband the Brazilian way

The biological clock is ticking and Prince Charming is a no-show? You spent Valentine’s day with your Mom? No problem! Try one of these classic Brazilian spells (we call them simpatias) and then go shop for your wedding gown.

  • Buy a small statue of Saint Anthony, the patron saint of single women. Remove Baby Jesus from his arms and tell the saint you won’t return the baby unless you get a boyfriend. You can reinforce your position, keeping Anthony upside down, so he will understand you are not kidding.
  • If you consider yourself very ugly, choose a leaf of espada de São Jorge (a sword-like plant commonly used in Afro-Brazilian cults). Cut it into three pieces and throw them in boiling water for three hours. After the water cools down, wash your face with it, praying to Saint George and asking him to convert the “dragon” into a beauty.
  • Buy a new sharp knife and stick it into a banana tree on June 12th at midnight  (Saint Anthony’s day is on the 13th). The liquid that will drip from the plant’s wound will form the first letter of the name of your future husband. The mother of a friend did this. She was very upset that K appeared – it is rarely used in Brazilian names. Years later she married a visiting German, Kurt.

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Street Carnival

Cordão do Boitatá (at Praça XV, in downtown Rio)
Cordão do Boitatá (at Praça XV, in downtown Rio)

There are several ways of celebrating Carnival in Rio, if you are lucky enough to be there on February 13th, when the festival begins.

You can be in the audience of the huge parade of Escolas de Samba – at the Sambódromo (built specifically for the yearly event) -, you can attend some indoor ball, or you can participate in one of the hundred street manifestations that happen all around town. These blocos, as they are called, are semi-spontaneous, normally include a group of percussionists and may be thematic.

Their names can be really inspired:

  • “O Negócio tá feio e o teu nome tá no meio” (Things are getting ugly  and your name was mentioned)
  • Meu amor, vou logo ali” (My love, I am going next door – and I won’t come back before the party is over, it should add)
  • Butano na Bureta” (Butane in the Burette, inspired by [sexual] chemistry)
  • “Xupa mas não baba” (Suck but don’t drool – no comments about this one)
  • “Lavou tá limpo” (If you wash, it will be clean again)
  • Parei de beber, não de mentir” (I stopped drinking, not lying)
  • Simpatia é quase Amor” (Liking is almost Love).

Check here for the complete list, in case you are in town to celebrate.