Portuguese Language Blog

Summer Vacation in Brazil Posted by on Jan 31, 2011 in Culture

One of the most important things to know when traveling, studying, or working in Brazil or with Brazilian companies or government is to remember the sanctity of the summer vacation, or férias de verão. For students, the break can last from mid- or even early December to February, and adults typically take a holiday during this time of year. Parts of the federal government shut down from Christmas through the beginning of February, like the Supreme Court. Depending on when Carnival falls, things usually start up again shortly after.

When traveling in Brazil, it’s important to remember that this time of year is high season. Even though New Year’s Eve and Carnival are typically the most expensive parts of high season, January and February are peak season for Brazilians to travel. Besides higher prices, this means more crowded hotels, buses, flights, and cruises.

Doing business in January and February in Brazil is akin to doing business in the US in July or August. Many people are out of the office, and projects tend to move a bit more slowly until after Carnival. When studying in Brazil, this means that classes don’t start until February or even March, and that January is a convenient time to travel between semesters.

Besides the fact that life as usual tends to come to a halt during this time of year, it’s also important to remember how important leisure time is in Brazil. Vacation, R&R, and spending time away from work and school is a critical part of Brazilian culture, so the summer is a time to put aside stress and join family and friends at the beach, the mountains, or just at a backyard barbecue.

To get an idea about the importance of summer vacation, here are a few things to check out. Here’s an excerpt from an op-ed about summer vacation that came out about a month ago in Estado de São Paulo:

“As férias de verão são o grande momento na vida de parte importante da população brasileira. Nelas o merecido descanso compensa um ano de estudos e trabalho. A canseira da vida moderna dá lugar a outro ritmo, não necessariamente mais calmo, mas menos preocupado. A vida corre em outra velocidade e o ócio se impõe na esteira estendida na areia, no sol esplendoroso, na onda quebrando na praia ou no campo verde balançado por uma brisa suave.”

And here’s a song from Caetano Veloso called Samba de verão:


So even if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s important to remember that in Brazil, it’s summer, and it’s time to take it easy.

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  1. Jose Figueiredo:

    Samba de Verão não é de Caetano Veloso… É de Marcos Valle.