By Michael Moss
The month of June is Luzo-Brazilian month, ushering in summer with a samba that invites everyone to celebrate the rich cultures of Portugal and Brazil.
Currently, and in the past, Brazil and Portugal have been fierce competitors with the rest of the world. Whether in sea-faring discoveries or battling for the World Cup, both countries remain at the forefront of history.
Portugal is one the oldest European nations famed for its exploration of the world in the 15th and 16th centuries.
“When you go to Portugal, it”s like stepping back in time a bit,” said Chris Rice, a 24-year-old microbiology major from Salem who served in the Portugal Porto Mission. “The history just feels tangible.”
Portugal”s place on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean contributes to a culture of sea-faring explorers and seafood lovers.
“For Christmas dinner they”ll have a big codfish instead of a turkey,” Rice said.
Portugal”s love of sailing and exploration drove them to discover new territories in Africa and South America. Their most well-known discovery is the country of Brazil, where the Portuguese language is still spoken today. Brazil is a country with a distinctive culture, with the pounding beat of the samba and the martial art of the Capoeira; the culture is exciting and full of life.
“Brazilians are famous for being outgoing party animals,” said BYU professor Roydon Olsen of the Portuguese Department.
Brazil is a melting pot of different cultures, with the traditions of the Portuguese, native Brazilians and black slaves all contributing to contemporary Brazilian culture, Olsen said.
One aspect demonstrating this mix of culture is the Capoeira, a fighting style that combines, music, dance and martial arts.
Capoeira was developed in the 1600s among slaves in Brazil. The slaves were forbidden to use any weapons, so they developed a fighting style that incorporated African and Brazilian music so the slave owners would see it as a ritualistic dance, said Mestrando Jamaika, director of Salt Lake Capoeira and three-time Brazilian Capoeira Champion.
The drumbeats of the Capoeira became the roots for styles of Brazilian music such as samba and bossa nova, according to www.allbrazilianmusic.com.