May 29, 2012

This is our regular column called Ask a Brazilian”, the idea being that you can quite literally ask a question of a Brazilian – for those issues you aren’t sure about but perhaps dare not ask someone else. It is meant as a bit of fun and answers should not be construed as expert opinion or the definitive reply on the matter. For that reason we ask you to please send your own comments and experiences in order to add to our replies.

How do Brazilians celebrate birthdays? Are there any typical routines that must be followed, or avoided? Are there cake, birthday cards, and presents? What do you sing? etc. etc.

— Marcus

Marcus, there is more than one way Brazilians celebrate birthdays. There can be parties, when you are 15, for example, the “baile de debutantes” can be a big party. People love to have a big big party for their 30th. And 50’s… So, big dates, big parties, as I think many gringos do. And of course one can also decide to have a small dinner with family, or even a good night of sleeping. Cakes, birthday cards, presents… that can happen or not, but yes, they all also exist around here. So it’s pretty normal, really, I can’t see anything ‘brazilian’ specifically for celebrating birthdays, expect for our version of “Happy Birthday to you”.

Parabns pra voc, nessa data querida, muitas felicidades, muitos anos de vida.
Happy birthday to you, on that dear date, much happiness, many years.


I am a 20 year old female who is madly in love with a wonderful Brazilian man. He came to my hometown four months ago and we hit it off. Even though we both knew he would only be here for three months our feelings didn’t stop. We spent almost everyday together which eventually led to him spending the night with me almost every night. We sat at the park for hours and talked. We worked together, ate together, cared for one another and eventually I fell in love all over again. He gave me the strength to finally break up with my emotionally abusive and manipulative ex who I dated for eight years. He nurtured me and made me feel as if I had no worries in the world. The main thing I miss about him is we formed a perfect friendship before we were serious. I never thought I would be able to love someone in a three months period… but I did. He left one month ago and I am devastated. I thought after a month I would feel better and move on. But I haven’t. He told me before he left that he would finish school in Brazil and get a career then come back here to marry me. All of that sounds nice but realistically it doesn’t seem possible. He has only called me twice and skyped me once. Do Brazilian men always have a plan B or a backup girl? Do they always make their woman wait for something that might not work out? I don’t have a problem waiting but I can’t be the only one trying here. I am more than willing to learn Portuguese and move. Also the last night he was here he spent it with me and he was in tears for an hour because he said he didn’t want to leave me here. I guess I am mainly confused. What can I do to show him that I still care? The long distance is hard enough but everything is possible. However, if he isn’t interested in me how do I get his attention to man up and be honest?


— Kayla

Dear Kayla,

That is a beautiful love story, I’m sorry your Brazilian had to leave. You know that Dire Straits song, “So far Away?”. “So far away from me, so far I just can’t see”… Who doesn’t love that song? Who doesn’t know what you’re feeling?

But listen, there is no such thing as “Brazilian men always have a plan B”, and I also can’t tell you Brazilians “always make their woman wait for something that might not work out”. You know him, I don’t, from the story you tell, I can’t tell if what you lived is or not true. You were there, you saw the man crying! Don’t you ever believe every Brazilian is a shitty man, every man in the world is different, no Brazilian man is like another also, despite of what you heard, that is not the truth.

About the future, you are both so young, I understand he told you he would finish school in Brazil and get a career then come back to get marry (that is all so cute), but how many years will that take? Are you sure you won’t fall in love again until that day comes? Or maybe he will came back, maybe you will get marry, who knows, darling? Everything is possible.


Are there any burning questions you have about Brazil, or other issues that you’re curious about, such as Brazilian culture? If so, send your questions to

Previous articles in this series:

Ask a Brazilian: Manners and Jealousy
Ask a Brazilian: Renting
Ask a Brazilian: Investments and Lateness
Ask a Brazilian: Family Closeness
Ask a Brazilian: Waxing and Electronics
Ask a Brazilian: Easter and Surnames
Ask a Brazilian: House Buying and Apartment Entry Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Dating in Brazil
Ask a Brazilian: A Question of Race
Ask a Brazilian: Corruption and Lula
Ask a Brazilian: Leather and Telephones
Ask a Brazilian: Treatment of Animals
Ask a Brazilian: Well-to-do Ladies
Ask a Brazilian: All Souls Day and Halloween
Ask a Brazilian: Answering a Question
Ask a Brazilian: Revoked Visa
Ask a Brazilian: Pedestrian Problems
Ask a Brazilian: Trash
Ask a Brazilian: Tiles
Ask a Brazilian: Headlights
Ask a Brazilian: Differences and Love
Ask a Brazilian: What Do the Police Do?
Ask a Brazilian: Contractor Frustrations
Ask a Brazilian: English Books and Brazilian Boys
Ask a Brazilian: Cold Cahaca
Ask a Brazilian: Interruptions
Ask a Brazilian: Travel and Security Concerns
Ask a Brazilian: Gestures and Toys
Ask a Brazilian: Hispanics or Latinos, and Duvets
Ask a Brazilian: Overbearing Sogros
Ask a Brazilian: Hotels and Bank Transfers
Ask a Brazilian: Swimming, Showers and New Year’s
Ask a Brazilian: Making Friends
Ask a Brazilian: Female Etiquette
Ask a Brazilian: Washing Machines
Ask a Brazilian: Picking Teeth
Ask a Brazilian: Lozenge or Candy?
Ask a Brazilian: Liberal or Jealous?
Ask a Brazilian: Truck Wheels
Ask a Brazilian: Tolerance
Ask a Brazilian: Screens
Ask a Brazilian: Brazilian Wax
Ask a Brazilian: Flashing Lights
Ask a Brazilian: Lemon and Limes
Ask a Brazilian: Shocking Showers

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