Jeitinho Brasiliero

Florianopolis Travel Blog

 › entry 2 of 4 › view all entries

            One of the most intriguing aspects of Brazilian culture that I have encountered is jeitinho brasiliero.  Although originally conceived as a way to describe favoritism in Brazil’s bureaucracy, there has become a noticeable mystique that now surrounds jeitinho and attempts to define an entire nation of 190 million people.  We would soon come to find that the line where the true definition of jeitinho ends and the exaggerations begin is more of a gray area than a line.

            My first encounter with jeitinho was our first day of class in Florianopolis.  We were tasked with translating an article about jeitinho from Portuguese to English, but not having a strong concept of what it was made this process difficult.  What we finally managed to get out of the paragraph were words like “business” and “favor” which led us to believe it was a term oriented strictly in business.  However, there were also words in the article like “lifestyle” that suggest to me that the meaning of jeitinho stretches beyond just business.  Even the term itself - jeitinho brasiliero - gives it a type of nationalistic association that people can identify with and embrace.

            During our stay in Brazil we are still trying to figure out the exact definition of jeitinho.  It has a certain ambiguity to it that has led some of us in the group to use it as a catch-all definition for anything Brazilian.  When leaving a tip at a restaurant, we sometimes say “We’re doing this waiter a jeitinho.”  When attempting to undertstand why everything shuts down during a soccer match, we say “This is some crazy jeitinho.”  When out of sayings to use when giving cheers: “Jeitinho!”  When we encountered a local dog that followed us all over the island with a unique loyalty in charm, her name of course became Jeitinha.  While it may seem silly that we used this term to encompass more than the business term it was originally intended for, it represented to us a cultural identity that was both an easily recognizable brand and a cultural mystery all in one word.

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
photo by: Vagabondatheart