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Top 5 Things Brazil has Given the World Beyond Football

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by Jenny Hatton Mahon (subscribe)
Weekends are about freedom, exploring and fun... and that's worth writing about.
Published June 11th 2014
Bottoms Up Brazil
Yes, Brazil may have won more World Cup football tournaments than any other country. Yes, the Brazilian team has made it to this world-class tournament every time. Yes, legends such as Pele, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho, not to mention the entire country's obsession with football, have made Brazil synonymous with the sport.

However, Brazil has given so much more to the world than just football. Its culture has transcended its developing country status and influenced the world in so many ways. Here are five of Brazil's top cultural contributions that the world just couldn't do without.

5 things brazil has given the world food beauty salon dancing
Bottoms up in Brazil

1. Brazilian bottoms

Brazilian bottoms are big business. They are held in such high esteem there is even a contest to find the sexiest bottom in Brazil, Miss Bumbum. So serious is this competition that it hit the headlines in 2013 when two competitors were accused of bribing judges, one of them offering a financial incentive and having implants in her bottom to be awarded second place in the contest.

The reaction was sheer shame and shock. "It's no longer a secret to anyone that Miss Bumbum has been bought and already has a winner," one of the competitors alleged. "I'm very sad because the result isn't deserved, and her bottom isn't the most beautiful." Serious stuff.

Despite the behind the scenes bun fight becoming more of a bum fight, there is no doubt that the Brazilian bottom remains a highly prized and sought after attribute and has been instrumental in the evolution of the bikini designs which we are seeing on our beaches today. If you'd like to find out more about these, take a look here.

This takes us onto the Brazilian butt lift…

2. Cosmetic surgery

From the beautifully-bronzed to the tightly-toned, Brazil is heaving with good-looking bodies. But how much of it is cosmetically enhanced?

Whilst many of Brazil's beautiful women are genetically blessed and have no need for the knife, Brazil boasts one of the world's highest rates of cosmetic surgery. It runs a close second to the US in its number of plastic surgeons and the number of surgeries performed according to the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

5 things brazil has given the world food beauty salon dancing
No need for the needle for the genetically blessed

Most procedures fall into the "nip and tuck" category but there are some bizarre Brazilians who have taken the "beauty" obsession a step too far. Take a Brazilian-born flight attendant 30-year-old Rodrigo Alves who wants to live in a Barbie world and who has undergone 20 cosmetic procedures to look like a human Ken doll. Then there's the Brazilian man who underwent 10 procedures to look Korean and another who underwent an undisclosed number of procedures to look more like a dog.

Less controversial and hitting the bottom line, the most popular cosmetic procedure in Brazil is the Brazilian butt lift with more and more women wanting desirable derrieres a la J-Lo, Beyoncé and the cheeky Kim Kardashian.

Unlike Brazil, cosmetic surgery is not the "go to" solution for most Australians but we do like access to products that help us achieve our best selves. Enter Sephora, which sells just about every beauty product and device you could want to deal with wrinkles, crinkles and dimples. And it's now available in Australia. For more information, go here.

3. Brazilian waxing

It's commonly thought that Brazilian waxing originated in Brazil for women who wanted to wear the new thong bikinis and whilst it has been popularized there, it's earlier origins are not so widely known.

This waxing treatment became famous when it was introduced in Manhattan, US, in 1987 by seven Brazilian sisters - Jocely, Jonice, Joyce, Janea, Jussara, Juracy and Judseia Padilha, aka J. Sisters International Salon. However, further investigation has established that "intimate area" waxing is not a Brazilian invention at all, the "smooth finish" having been adopted for centuries in Ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Arabia, Turkey and Persia.

What more can be said about Brazilian waxing without wincing? Well, according to research, it is the most popular "style" of bikini waxing - more popular than the American wax, French wax, the European, Hollywood wax, the Playboy Strip, the Landing Strip, the Mustache, the Bikini Line, the Full Bikini, the Triangle, the Heart, and the Sphynx. I wonder if the mullet will come back into fashion…

If you're wanting a wax in Sydney, take a look here.

4. Brazilian cuisine

Brazilian cuisine has extended beyond the country's borders and is enjoyed now by many countries throughout the world, Australia included. Brazilian and Australian approaches to food share some similarities, particularly the love of good quality meats and barbecues. Churrasco, a Brazilian favourite, involves slow-roasting skewered meats over charcoal, the resulting flavours being rich and smoky. Another popular dish with Brazilians is feijoada' – a hearty stew of beans with beef and pork. Whereas Australians may soak up the meat juices and gravy with a fresh damper, the Brazilians will do this with 'pao de queijo' – tapioca cheese bread.

5 things brazil has given the world food beauty salon dancing
Feast for the eyes and food for the soul

As for drinks, one of Brazil's favourites which has found its way into Australia is 'Velho Barreiro Cachaca', a distilled spirit made from sugar cane juice, similar to rum. Mixed with tropical fruits, it will pack a punch. For the morning after, the trendy antioxidant acai juice, made from a purple fruit originating in northern Brazil has found worldwide fame and following.

And who doesn't like a strong Brazilian coffee? Brazil is responsible for about a third of all the world's coffee, making Brazil by far the largest producer, a position the country has held for the last 150 years.

For more information on Brazilian food and where you can find it, take a look here.

5. The Samba

With their fulsome bottoms, smooth bikini lines, lipo'ed legs and coffee induced energy, of course Brazilians are going to be fancy dancers.

Samba, a traditional Brazilian style of dance with many variations, is actually African in origin. However, it has been performed in Brazil as a carnival street dance for almost 100 years. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity.

Many versions of the samba are danced at the local carnival in Rio but it's main characteristic is that a dancer must give it a happy, flirtatious and exuberant interpretation.

5 things brazil has given the world food beauty salon dancing
Celebrating the samba at the Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Samba has been adopted internationally as a popular ballroom dance and gained a strong revival in Australia following the iconic Australian movie, Strictly Ballroom, the costumes exuding Latin American flair.

If you're interested in taking a few lessons in Samba or any other dance steps, take a look here.

To top it off...

It's undeniable that Brazil has made some amazing contributions to the world, this list of the top five giving a flavour of what Brazil has to offer beyond football.

So, when the football frenzy recedes and the game is over, don't be concerned for Brazil's well-being. Brazilians will not go bottoms up or wax and wane. They will continue to dance to a fast and lively beat that continues independent of their football fervor.
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Why? Because there is more to Brazil than football
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