Keen on Brazilian culture? Let's find out about its traditional costumes!
When talking about Brazil, a beautiful South America country with golden sand and tropical rainforest, we are always impressed by its rich and diverse culture. We can see this diversity in the Brazilian Carnival, especially in their festival costumes. In fact, the festival costumes are what reflect most about their culture, since they are the collection of traditional clothes in Brazil. So if you want to understand Brazilian culture, you should know its traditional costumes first.
A Brazilian carnival costume
Since it is the largest country in South America, and there are also many immigrants from its colonial era until now, Brazilian culture is influenced by many other cultures. Back in the past, it was influenced by the African and European. Their cultures, customs, and traditions are the root of ancient Brazilian culture. They are the major residence of Brazil in that era. Their clothes are wild, colorful and amazing with exotic patterns.
Gauchos of the Pampas - an American influence
However, the biggest influence of Brazilian culture is from Portuguese, with 322 years being its colony. From 1500 to 1815, the Portuguese came and rule this country. This has big influences on its culture, especial clothes. Since Portuguese traditional clothes are too different from Brazilian clothes at that time, there has been an evolution in term of clothing, created another type of traditional clothes in Brazil. Women wore dresses or skirts which were made from fabrics embroidered doily. This kind of fabric is called Bordado Richelieu, which is very similar to Venetian lace.
It was until late 19th and early 20th century when Brazil regained its independence, the multi-ethnic and multicultural society appeared. Many immigrants from other countries like German, Italian, Spanish, Arab, and even Japanese came and settled in Brazil. Their culture influenced Brazilian culture significantly. Therefore, the Brazilian culture, especially Brazilian traditional costumes are very diverse.
Geography shapes cultural diversity
Since Brazilian traditional clothes are influenced by a variety of races and cultures of the immigrants from around the world, there are major differences in Brazilian regions based on the main residence there. In detail, there are three main distinctive areas: the southern Brazil, Rio de Janeiro - Brazil's capital, and the Bahia region of Brazil. Each area has each different history so their cultures are also very unique.
Brazilian Baiana dress
In Southern Brazil, where there is a mixture of Russian, Italian, and German immigrants, the traditional clothes are more elegant, graceful and detailed. The women here wear puffy dresses, with the main materials are lace or Bordado Richelieu. In Rio de Janeiro, which is the home of English, Portuguese, and African, their clothes are more diverse and colorful. As they are also famous for the carnival festival, their traditional clothes are vibrant, colorful, and extraordinary. While in the Bahia region of Brazil, where the African culture is dominant, their traditional costumes are wild, exotic and unique. Women wear long and flowing skirts, along with colorful head scarves. Their material is also vibrant and light. They often wear these skirts with cotton shirts, usually in white.
Different types of traditional costume in Brazil
Native Amerindians costume
The Amazon culture is always mysterious and authentic. And a large part of Brazil culture is influenced by the Amazon, which includes traditional clothes. According to Amazon culture, an Amazon citizen is called the native Amerindian. Their costumes are traditional tunics, made from natural material such as feathers, leathers, leaves. Men wear a leather Loincloth, a special bottom piece which is very popular in ancient time, while women wear skirts made from leaves and feathers. Besides the costume, they also have exotic face patterns. The native Amerindians always paint their faces in any important event. There are also some exclusive accessories such as heavy assortments of beads as necklaces or special feather hats.
Gauchos of the Pampas
Gauchos of the Pampas
A special costume of Rio Grande do Sul, which is in the southern part of Brazil is Gauchos of the Pampas. They are cowboys' clothes, which were influenced by the American. Their outfit includes bombachas, which is a pair of baggy trousers, ponchos, big straw hats, and a pair of leather boots.
The Carmen Miranda Costume
The Carmen Miranda Costume
This Brazilian traditional costume is very popular in Brazilian carnival. This is the modern version of the Biana dress, which is called Carmen Miranda version. With the same materials and color schemes, this costume pulls off a new and fresh atmosphere. There is a long slit on the skirt to show off a leg, and there are vibrant feathers, plastic decorations like fruits and flowers which are embellished on the turban.
The traditional costume of a country tells a lot about that country's culture and history. Whenever you visit one country, especially a cultural-rich country like Brazil, just make sure to keep an eye on its traditional clothes and you will know more than you thought. As for the Brazilian traditional costumes, besides its beauty, there are also deeper meanings behind it.