An Overview of São Paulo

São Paulo  is the largest city in Brazil, the largest city in the southern hemisphere and South America, and the world’s seventh largest city by population. The metropolis is anchor to the São Paulo metropolitan area, ranked as the second-most populous metropolitan area in the Americas and among the five-largest metropolitan areas on the planet.São Paulo is the capital of the state of São Paulo, which is the most populous Brazilian state, and exerts strong regional influence in commerce and finance as well as arts and entertainment. São Paulo maintains strong international influence and is considered an Alpha World City. The name of the city honors Saint Paul.

People from the city of São Paulo are known as paulistanos, while paulistas designates anyone from the whole of São Paulo state, including the paulistanos. The city’s Latin motto, which it has shared with the battleship and the aircraft carrier named after it, is Non dvcor, dvco, which translates as “I am not led, I lead.”

The city, which is also colloquially known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle), is also known for its unreliable weather, the size of its helicopter fleet, its architecture, gastronomy, severe traffic congestion, and multitude of skyscrapers (source).

Religion in São Paulo, Brazil

Religion in São Paulo is reflective of religious statistics throughout Brazil. Brazil possesses a richly spiritual society formed from the meeting of the Roman Catholic Church with the religious traditions of African slaves and indigenous peoples. This confluence of faiths during the Portuguese colonization of Brazil led to the development of a diverse array of syncretistic practices within the overarching umbrella of Brazilian Roman Catholicism, characterized by traditional Portuguese festivities.Religious pluralism increased during the 20th century, largely due to a Protestant community that has grown to include over 15% of the population.

In 1891, when the first Brazilian Republican Constitution was set forth, Brazil ceased to have an official religion and has remained secular ever since, though the Catholic Church remained politically influential into the 1970s. The Constitution of Brazil guarantees freedom of religion and strongly prohibits the establishment of any religion by banning government support or hindrance of religion at all levels. Over seventy percent (73.8%) of the population declared themselves Roman Catholic in the last census (2000). However, there are many other religious denominations in Brazil. Some of these churches are the: Protestant, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Methodist, Lutheran, and Baptist. There are over a million and a half Spiritists or Kardescists who follow the doctrines of Allan Kardec. There are followers of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, small minorities of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and numerous followers of Candomble and Umbanda.

Brazilian religions are very diversified and inclined to syncretism. In recent decades, there has been a great increase of Neo-Pentecostal churches, which has decreased the number of members to both the Roman Catholic Church and the Afro-Brazilian religions.  About ninety percent of Brazilians declared some sort of religious affiliation in the most recent census.

Currently, 68% of the population declare themselves to be Catholic, 12.4% are Protestant, 15.4% have no religious affiliation, 3.3% practice Spiritism, 0.3% adhere to Afro-Brazilian religions, and 1.7% practice other religions (source).

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