What is Folclore Brasileiro?

June 21, 2024


When it comes to Brazilian culture, one of the most fascinating aspects is its folklore. Brazilian folklore is a rich and diverse tapestry of myths, legends, and traditions that have been passed down through generations. In this glossary, we will explore the world of Brazilian folklore, delving into its history, key figures, and popular stories.

What is Folklore Brasileiro?

Folklore Brasileiro, or Brazilian folklore, refers to the traditional beliefs, customs, and stories that have been passed down through generations in Brazil. It encompasses a wide range of themes, including mythical creatures, supernatural beings, and cultural traditions. Brazilian folklore is a reflection of the country’s diverse cultural heritage, blending elements of indigenous, African, and European traditions.

Key Figures in Brazilian Folklore

One of the most famous figures in Brazilian folklore is Saci-Pererê, a mischievous one-legged boy who is often depicted smoking a pipe and wearing a red cap. Another iconic figure is Curupira, a forest spirit with bright red hair and backwards feet, who is said to protect the animals and plants of the forest. Other key figures include Iara, a beautiful mermaid who lures men to their deaths, and Boitatá, a fiery serpent that protects the rivers and forests.

Popular Stories in Brazilian Folklore

There are countless stories and legends in Brazilian folklore, each with its own unique characters and themes. One popular story is the legend of the Boto Cor-de-Rosa, a pink river dolphin that transforms into a handsome man to seduce young women. Another well-known tale is the story of the Mula Sem Cabeça, a headless mule that roams the countryside at night, terrorizing those who cross its path.

Themes in Brazilian Folklore

Themes in Brazilian folklore often revolve around the supernatural, the natural world, and the struggles of everyday life. Many stories explore the relationship between humans and nature, highlighting the importance of respecting the environment and living in harmony with the natural world. Other themes include love, betrayal, and the consequences of greed and selfishness.

Historical Roots of Brazilian Folklore

The roots of Brazilian folklore can be traced back to the country’s indigenous peoples, who passed down their myths and traditions through oral storytelling. With the arrival of European colonizers and African slaves, new elements were added to the folklore, creating a rich tapestry of cultural influences. Over time, Brazilian folklore has continued to evolve and adapt, reflecting the changing social and political landscape of the country.

Impact of Brazilian Folklore on Popular Culture

Brazilian folklore has had a significant impact on popular culture, influencing literature, music, art, and film. Many Brazilian writers and artists have drawn inspiration from folklore, incorporating its themes and characters into their work. Brazilian music, especially samba and bossa nova, often references folklore in its lyrics and melodies, celebrating the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Preservation of Brazilian Folklore

Efforts are being made to preserve and promote Brazilian folklore, ensuring that these stories and traditions are passed down to future generations. Cultural organizations, museums, and educational institutions are working to document and archive folklore, making it accessible to a wider audience. By preserving Brazilian folklore, we can celebrate the country’s cultural diversity and heritage.


As we have seen, Brazilian folklore is a vibrant and diverse tapestry of myths, legends, and traditions that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. By exploring the world of Brazilian folklore, we can gain a deeper understanding of the country’s history, beliefs, and values. Whether through popular stories, key figures, or themes, Brazilian folklore continues to captivate and inspire audiences around the world.

Tatiana Cesso

As a journalist, I've made it my mission to explore and share stories that inspire, inform, and entertain. You may have stumbled upon my work in esteemed publications such as InStyle, Marie Claire, Bazaar, L’Officiel, and Vogue, among others. Having called the U.S. home since 2010, I've lived in Chicago, LA, and currently, Miami. But my heart always beats to the rhythm of Brazil. It's where I was born and raised, and my love for its culture, people, and energy knows no bounds. To share this passion, I've founded Brazilcore, a platform aimed at bridging the gap between Brazil and English speakers worldwide.