Cultural Notes from the Rio Olympics
Posted by: Tainá Sindler, Language Consultant for Cartus Intercultural & Language Solutions
Have you been watching coverage of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro? With the Olympic Games coming to a close soon, and the Paralympic Games set to begin September 7th, Brazilian team members from our Intercultural & Language Solutions group wanted to share some insight into the host country’s cultural influences on these events.
Jorge Ben Jor, musician and song-writer, describes Brazil as a “tropical country, blessed by God and beautiful by nature”. Stunning Rio de Janeiro is the perfect setting to experience Ben Jor’s opinion of Brazil. With its gorgeous beaches and classic postcard scenery, the city is hosting these amazing events with grace and positivity, one of the main characteristics of Brazilian people.
Futebol and Brazilian Culture
Brazilians are generally known to be very welcoming and joyful. However, they are also high spirited and love making fun of people (in a healthy way), and they are quite competitive when it comes to sports, especially futebol (football, or soccer).
Futebol has such great importance in Brazilian culture that many idiomatic expressions used in everyday life come from futebol:
- Pisar na bola – when someone ‘steps on the ball’ means that they’ve done something wrong/made a mistake;
- Dar bola – ‘to give ball’ means to pay attention to someone or start a conversation with someone you are interested in;
- Bola pra frente – ‘moving the ball forward’ means to move on or cheer up;
- Pendurar a chuteira – ‘to hang your cleats’ means to retire;
- Vestir a camisa – ‘to wear the (team’s) shirt’ means to devote oneself to something (especially in relation to work), to put all of your effort into something;
- 45 minutos do segundo tempo – ‘45th minute of the second half’ means that someone is approaching a task right before the deadline is up;
- Agora é correr para o abraço – ‘Now is run for the hug’ is used when someone did a great job and is going to celebrate what they’ve accomplished.
Speaking of expressions and soccer, did you know that in Brazil the word Zika means “something really bad”? People use this word when something isn’t going well or to “jinx” someone. That is why crowds have been chanting it to some of the non-Brazilian Olympic athletes. Brazilian fans love cheering and when the torcida (a group of cheering fans) becomes one voice, there is a very powerful togetherness that can move the biggest stadiums.
Brazil’s Natural and Cultural Beauty
Cariocas (Brazilians born in Rio de Janeiro) are very much into fitness, so their home is the perfect setting for the Olympic Games. Every day you can find people jogging, walking and exercising along Copacabana beach on the iconic black and white promenade designed by landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx. Cariocas also love playing sports in the sand, especially volleyball, so the local population will most certainly benefit from and enjoy the court set up at Copacabana beach for years to come!
Brazil might be beautiful by nature, however the country’s true beauty is its cultural diversity; people from all over the world make Brazil their home. As seen during the Olympics’ Opening Ceremony, all are welcome to gather and celebrate with creative energy and the contagious Samba rhythm. In fact, the Closing Ceremonies are sure to be a festa (party) to remember! Agora é correr para o abraço!