SÃO PAULO —
Brazil, some say, is where the soul of football lives. The passion of its loyal fan base is especially evident now during the World Cup. At one Brazilian family's home in São Paulo, that passion is on full display.
It’s five minutes to game-time on a weekday evening, and the streets of Sao Paulo are empty. Traffic has cleared, shops have closed -- an unusual sight in what is one of the most congested cities in the world.
The reason: people are at home, in front of a television screen, watching the game with family, friends and neighbors.
This neighborhood, called Artur Alvim, is only blocks away from São Paulo’s massive Itaquerão stadium. But the small town character of these streets would make you believe otherwise.
Renan Araujo, a resident of Artur Alvim, has invited aunts, uncles, nephews, cousins, and friends to watch Brazil’s evening match.
Then, a moment of excitement, but it was only a close-call - Neymar, the 22-year old boy wonder of Brazil’s national team, nearly scored.
But watching the game itself is only part of the experience.
Win or lose, this Brazilian family has gathered to enjoy the company of others. As evening falls, the party has only begun.
"It’s in our culture and DNA. Whether you’re American, African, or Italian, we welcome everybody with love," said Araujo.
“Any excuse for a family party. Barbecue, drinks. During these parties, everyone is happy,” said Eliara Comparetti, Arajuo’s wife.
After the game, the shops remain closed, but the streets are no longer empty. The entire neighborhood is celebrating in a post-match carnival.
“Brazilians are very festive people. We like parties, we like people, we like ‘muvuca,’ that’s slang in Brazil for when you have a lot of people together. Brazilians love this, they are a very warm people,” said Leandro Gomes da Silva, a São Paulo resident.
There's a feeling of inclusion, of celebrating the human spirit. Together, they form a culture that wins every time.