The greatest official holiday in Brazil is Carnival. It lasts five days, ending on Ash Wednesday. The school vacations are from December to February (summer), including Christmas, New Year’s and Carnival. In July there can be some days of school recess and in October there is the Sick-of-it-All Week (Semana do Saco Cheio), when the schools are closed. On these occasions the families with younger children can take some time for vacation.
The working hours are the best to set up appointments, going generally from 8:30 or 9 am. to 6 pm., but it’s important to emphasize that Brazilians also like to talk about business during lunches and dinners. Lunch breaks are usually for one hour but they can easily last up to two hours. Try to set up your appointments from 10 am. to midday and after 2 pm. to 5 pm.
Brazilians behave naturally and spontaneously in meetings, and it’s easy to realize when the negotiations begin and end. Generally it’s the host who begins the conversation. A friendly environment will always prevail in a meeting with foreigners. A Brazilian meeting can revolve, for the most part, around personal topics, and it may appear that Brazilians lack objectivity. However, be aware of Brazilians’ capacity for conducting business while talking about personal affairs and don’t underestimate their importance.
Business meetings are settled 15 days in advance and usually there is an e-mail or call to confirm the attendance a day before the meeting.
Never show up in a company or office without a previous appointment. You certainly won’t be received and the Brazilian executive may have a rude reaction.
It’s normal for Brazilians to be 10 to 15 minutes late for a meeting. Be ready for such delay but program yourself to arrive at the appointed time, even if you have to wait for the Brazilian colleagues.