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Terra Nordeste Glossary

This list contains the definitions that you can find attached to the corresponding terms throughout the pages of this site.

  • Acarajé
    Afro-Brazilian speciality typical of the state of Bahia. They are small balls of dough fried in palm oil, made from feijão (a kind of bean), onion and salt. Acarajé is one of the major components of Bahian cuisine and is served with vatapá, bobó, dried shrimp, chilli or even salad.
  • Agua de côco
    It is coconut water. Agua de côco is a very popular and appreciated drink in Brazil, especially on the beach. Street vendors and other small snack and drink stands often sell coconuts in which they drill a hole and put a straw in order to enjoy this refreshing drink.
  • Azulejos
    Azulejos is a term that originally refers to monochrome (mainly azure blue) or colored earthenware tiles with geometric or figurative motifs, originally used in Portugal and Spain. Azulejos are used for both indoor and outdoor tile work.
  • Bahianese
    Inhabitant of Bahia
  • Baianos
    The Baianos are the inhabitants of the state of Bahia, in the northeast of Brazil. In English, they are called Bahianese.
  • Batucada
    Batucada is a musical style originating from Rio de Janeiro, derived from samba, composed only of percussions punctuated by a whistle. The musicians of the batucada groups are called "batuqueiros". It is a very rhythmic musical style, inviting to dance and very popular in most Brazilian festivals such as the famous Rio Carnival.
  • Biome
    A Biome is a "major life zone", characterized by its climate but also by its fauna and flora. The delimitation and scale of a biome can be determined at the level of the terrestrial globe, a continent or a region.
  • Biosphère
    The biosphere includes all terrestrial ecosystems present in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere.
  • Bobó
    Bahianese culinary speciality inspired by Africa, composed among other things of manioc puree and coconut milk. The most popular one is the "Bobó de camarão". It is often served with white rice.
  • Boutique-Hotel
    Boutique hotel have styles and personalization which contrast with the standardized, sometimes monotonous and aseptic look of large hotel chains. It is gradually becoming the synonym for a hotel with charm and character.
  • Bromeliads
    Bromeliads (Bromeliaceae) are plants found in tropical regions of America that have the particularity of retaining rainwater at the base of their foliage. There are nearly 2000 species divided into several subfamilies according to whether they grow on other plants or on the soil. The pineapple is a bromeliad.  
  • Bumba meu Boi
    The Bumba meu Boi is a very popular traditional festival in the Brazilian Nordeste during which groups of musicians and dancers perform to rhythms that remind us of Black Africa, but also of the dances of the Brazilian indigenous people. This event, which celebrates the death and resurrection of the ox, is very famous for the beauty of its costumes and sceneries
  • Caatinga
    The caatinga (which would mean "white forest" in "tupi", a Brazilian dialect) is the name given to the ecosystem and the particular vegetation of northeastern Brazil. Although it is mainly composed of small thorny trees, cactus and grass that withstand arid climates, some of the vegetation that makes up the Caatinga only thrives briefly during the rainy season.
  • Cabiaïs
    Also called "capybara" in Portuguese, the cabiaï (or cabiai) is the largest rodent in the world today. This animal found in South American wetlands lives in water as well as on land. As an adult, it is more than 1m long and weighs more than 50kg. Some specimens almost reach a hundred kilograms! The cabiaï lives in groups and can therefore be regularly seen surrounded by cubs. In Brazil, it can mainly be seen in the Pantanal region.
  • Candomblé
    Candomblé is an Afro-Brazilian religion that exists in Brazil and other South American countries. This religion is inspired by Catholicism, mixed with African beliefs and indigenous rites, which gives it a unique character. It is the worship of deities called orixás representing natural elements such as fire, water or lightning. Nearly 3 million Brazilians practice Candomblé. Salvador de Bahia is a true Mecca of this religion and has many places of worship.
  • Capoeiristas
    Capoeiristas is the name given to those who do capoeira. This Afro-Brazilian martial art inspired by the dances and fighting techniques of African slaves in Brazil. Very popular and famous worldwide, this sport is known for being entertaining and spectacular and is practiced by men and women of all ages.
  • Caravel
    A caravel (from the Portuguese caravela) is a boat invented by the Portuguese with the purpose of exploring the globe The first caravels appeared at the beginning of the 15th century. They were sailing ships with high sides and shallow drafts renowned for their buoyancy and maneuverability.
  • Cariocas
    The cariocas is the name given to the inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro
  • Cidade Maravilhosa
    The "Cidade Maravilhosa" is Rio de Janeiro’s nickname. The author Coelho Neto (1864-1934) coined the term to praise its natural beauty in a collection of eponymous tales published in 1928.
  • Downwind
    Downwind is a term used in kiteboarding which describes a situation when the wind is at the individual’s back. This allows them to tack in order to move from one point to another without returning to their starting point.
  • Fazenda
    A Fazenda is a huge agricultural property in Brazil dedicated to growing crops or breeding livestock.
  • Flattop Mountains
    A flattop mountain is a characterized by a flat plateau-shaped peak and steep walls.
  • Guelta
    The guelta is a depression in the desert floor in which water accumulates Water accumulation in the basin is normally due to a flood, a spring or a resurgence but we use this term here to describe the lagoons that are created from the rain and that last part of the year.
  • Igarapé
    Narrow and shallow river arm, in the Amazon.  
  • Jagunços
    Jagunços were armed guards, often former bandits and criminals privately employed by influential figures such as politicians, military leaders or wealthy farmers to ensure their protection. Jagunços were mainly found in northeastern Brazil and were major actors in the Canudos War (1896-1897) in the state of Bahia.
  • Jangadas
    Jangadas are the traditional small sailing boats of Brazilian fishermen.
  • Jubarte
    The Jubarte whale is a cetacean found in all the oceans and seas of the world. Also known as the Megaptera novaeangliae or the humpback whale, it is known for its melodious song and spectacular jumps.
  • Kitesurf
    Kiteboarding (Kitesurf) is a very popular board sport, which consists of gliding on a board towed by a sail, on a body of water (sea, lake, lagoon, etc.). Brazil is full of world famous kiteboarding spots, especially in the Nordeste region.
  • Ludoviscences
    The Ludoviscences are the inhabitants of São Luis.
  • Lusitanian city
    The term "Lusitanian" refers to the Portuguese heritage. São Luís is considered as a Lusitanian city because its historical center is inspired by Portuguese architecture and craftsmanship. In some parts of central São Luís, you might even think you're in the middle of Lisbon!
  • Mangroves
    A mangrove forest is an ecosystem that is found mainly in the lower tropical areas of the planet. It consists of marshy ground where trees and plants with sprawling aerial roots such as mangrove trees grow and thrive. Mangrove forests are also home to many animal species including birds, fish, crustaceans, reptiles and mammals.
  • Mata Atlántica
    Mata Atlántica, which means "Atlantic Forest", refers to the biome that extends along the Brazilian coast between the states of Rio Grande do Sul and Rio Grande do Norte. It is a type of tropical rain forest.
  • Microrégion
    A microregion is a small geographical area that binds together elements from a nearby territory for different reasons. In Brazil, since 1988, it also designates a grouping of neighboring towns.
  • Noronhenses
    The Noronhenses are the inhabitants of the Fernando do Noronha archipelago.
  • O Pelourinho
    Pelourinho is one of the most iconic districts in Salvador de Bahia. Located in the heart of the city's historic center, it is distinguished by its picturesque alleys dotted with colorful facades. It has been the setting for many world-famous cinematographic and musical works, including the video clip for Michael Jackson's song "They don't care about us".
  • Pousadas
    Pousadas refer to a wide range of accommodations in Brazil. They can range from very luxurious guest houses to more imposing hotels, from small, simple and intimate structures to bed and breakfast accommodation. The term "pousada" is extremely common in Brazil and is frequently used to refer to any type of accommodation.
  • Restingas
    The restinga is a typical landscape of the east coast of Brazil. It refers to a nutrient-poor, salty and sandy land by the sea, where herbaceous plants grow.
  • Snorkeling
    Snorkeling is the practice of water exploration hiking with a mask, snorkel and fins. This leisure activity allows you to observe the seabed and its inhabitants from the surface or by freediving.
  • Syncretism
    Syncretism is the merging of influences or doctrines, used here to refer to the amalgamation of religions.
  • Tidal range
    Tidal range is the difference in water height between high and low tides. It can also be the measurement of water level variation in rivers, basins or canals.
  • Vaquejada
    Vaquejada is a fun and festive practice typical of northeastern Brazil where two cowboys, called "vaqueiros", on horseback must accompany a bull to a designated area.
  • Vatapá
    Vatapá is a Brazilian culinary specialty, very popular in the state of Bahia. It is a creamy dough made of bread, coconut milk, shrimp, peanuts and palm oil. It is often eaten with white rice but can also be served with acarajé.
  • Wind Sand
    Wind sand is composed of two very different types of grains, some very rounded and frosted, others completely polished and more angular in shape. This sand, of average grain size, comes from the disintegration of rocks by the wind, hence its name.
  • Xylography
    Xylography refers to the art of engraving a text or drawing on wood using various tools such as a chisel or a gouge.