Brazilian Culture

Greetings

  • Standard greetings vary from region to region. The most common and appropriate greeting for anyone is a handshake. In Brazil, handshakes are usually firm, although some may prefer lighter handshakes.
  • Brazilians usually take the time to greet each person individually, making direct eye contact.
  • In a group or social setting, the person arriving is expected to greet everyone first. One is also expected to bid farewell to everyone when they are leaving.
  • Among men who are close to one another, they may add a pat on the back with the handshake.
  • It is common for friends to greet each other with a warm hug.
  • Commonly, women lightly kiss the person she is greeting on each cheek. 
  • If a female wishes to shake hands with a male, it is expected that she will extend her hand first.
  • When addressing an adult, it is common practice to call them “senhor” (Mister) or “senhora” (Miss), followed by their first name. As a general rule, use the formal address for people you are unfamiliar with as well as those who are older than you.
  • Common verbal greetings include ‘olá’ (‘hello’), ‘bom dia’ (‘good day’), ‘boa tarde’ (‘good afternoon’) and ‘boa noite’ (‘good evening’ or ‘good night’).
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