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Learn About Brazilian Culture Before You Tour Brazil

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Before you tour Brazil, it’s helpful to understand a little bit about what inspires and motivates the proud people who live there. One cultural clue comes from the flag of Brazil.

The current Brazilian flag features the same yellow and green colors that were part of the original flag of the Empire of Brazil.

In the center of the flag is a blue orb that contains 27 five-pointed stars and the phrae, “Ordem e Progresso”, which is Portuguese for “Order and Progress”. The orb replaced the Empire of Brazil’s coat of arms that appeared on the original flag.

Today’s Brazilian flag was designed by Raimundo Teixeira Mendes, with the help of Miguel Lemos, Manuel Pereira Reis, and Decio Villares.

Significance of the Stars’ Positions

The day and location that the flag was first unveiled are very important to Brazilian history: November 19, 1889, in Rio de Janeiro.

That’s because the location of the 27 stars on the flag are the exact position of the stars in the sky over Rio at 8:37 a.m. on November 15, 1889, the day the constellation of the Southern Cross was on the Meridian of Rio de Janeiro and the longer arm of the cross was perfectly vertical.

What Each Star Represents

Each of the 27 stars represents one of Brazil’s 26 states, with an additional star for the Federal District. The first version of the flag had only 21 stars, but six additional stars were added tothe flag in 1992 to represent newly created states. Also, the star’s position was slightly changed to match the exact astronomical coordinates.

The phrase “Ordem e Progresso” comes from 19th Century French philosopher Auguste Comte’s motto of positivism, “L’amour pour principe et l’ordre pour base; le progres pour but”, which in English means “Love as a principle and order as the basis; progress as the goal.”

The Brazilian flag even has its own flag anthem called “Hino a Bandeira Nacional”, or “Hymn to Our National Flag”, which is often played as the flag is raised and lowered.

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