Check out 5 important Brazilian legends in the country’s culture

Check out 5 important Brazilian legends in the country’s culture

The Brazilian population has diverse origins, with indigenous, African and even European ties. With diversity, myths are created, mixing the characteristics of all cultures. We separated 5 big ones Brazilian legends to present.

1 – Curupira

One of the most famous legends in all of Brazil, the Curupira is known as the protector of the forest. Its history has an indigenous origin, there are mentions about the myth in the 16th century.

Curupira is usually portrayed as a dwarf who has red hair and his feet upside down (with his heels forward). In addition, it stands out for its speed and high physical strength.

As a protector of the forest, he turned against all those who destroyed it and, for this reason, he was seen with great fear by the indigenous people. The indigenous people believed that Curupira terrified and killed those who entered the forest to hunt or cut down trees.

The legend says that Curupira loved to receive tobacco and cachaça as gifts. In addition to terrifying hunters, the curupira was also responsible for making them get lost in the forest and forgetting the path by which they would leave it.

Name origin

“Curupira” is the origin of the Tupi and there is disagreement among experts regarding its meaning. The best known definition is that which determines that curupira means “boy’s body”, but there are other definitions, such as “covered with pustules” or “scabies skin”.

legend of curupira

2 – Headless Mule

THE mheadless ula is a legend of Brazilian folklore well known throughout the country. It has no definite origin, but, according to some researchers, despite having an unknown origin, the legend was part of the culture of the population that lived under the rule of the Catholic Church.

The myth is literally a headless mule that sets fire to its neck, where its head should be. It has, in its hooves, horseshoes that are silver or steel and have brown or black coloring.

According to legend, any woman who dated a priest would be transformed into a monster. Thus, women should see priests as a kind of “saint” and not as a man. If they committed any sin with the thought of a priest, they would end up becoming a headless mule.

The spell can only be broken if someone takes off the iron bridle that the headless mule carries, thus a woman will repent for her “sins”.

headless mule legend

3 – Pink Button

The legend of Pink button is an indigenous myth that is part of Brazilian folklore. It appeared in the Amazon region, in the north of the country.

The story goes that the Pink Dolphin, an animal similar to the dolphin and that lives in the Amazonian waters, turns into a beautiful and elegant young man on the nights of the full moon.

The man who emerges from the Pink Dolphin is totally communicative, heartthrob and conqueror. He chooses a beautiful girl, takes her to the bottom of the river, gets pregnant and then leaves her.

The next morning, he turns into a dolphin again. This legend is often used to justify pregnancy outside of marriage. They usually say that the child is a “daughter of the dolphin” when the father is unknown.

He usually appears at the celebrations of popular saints, such as Santo Antônio, São João and São Pedro, the well-known Festa Juninas. He appears dressed in white and with a hat covering his nostrils, since his transformation is not complete.

Brazilian folklore


The legend of the pink dolphin gave rise to the film, with the direction of Walter Lima Jr. The film was released in 1987.

4 – Werewolf

Frequent in stories from around the world, the Werewolf has a European origin, but also participates in Brazilian folklore. Here in Brazil, the myth has several regional variations.

The legend of the werewolf defines him as a being – part man, part wolf – who was cursed with lycanthropy (the act of becoming a wolf). The one who is cursed, becomes the werewolf on full moon nights. Some variations of the legend say that lycanthropy was the result of a pact of one man with the devil.

Once transformed, the person goes frantically looking for victims to kill them and feed on their blood. Modern popular culture has spread the idea that the werewolf is vulnerable only to silver bullets or sharp objects made of silver. Thus, the only way to kill him would be through objects made of this metal.

Brazilian Werewolf

This legend in Brazilian folklore ended up acquiring elements present in its Portuguese version. Thus, it was common to believe that the werewolf was the man born after the mother had seven daughters – although versions of the legend say that if seven sons were born, the eighth son would also be a werewolf.

In northern Brazil, the werewolf was the man who was in poor health and the one who was anemic would eventually become him. Once transformed, it would feed on the blood of other humans to make up for the poor diet as one of them. The transformation would take place from Thursday to Friday nights.

In the south, in turn, the fact that turned the man into a werewolf was incest. In Brazil, there was no record in the folklore of the belief in the transformation of women into werewolves. In our folklore, only men become werewolves.

Another belief related to the werewolf in Brazil is that, in the interior of São Paulo, it was believed that this being tried to invade the homes to eat the children. Many believed that the werewolf went after, especially, children who were not baptized.

werewolf legend

5 – Saci Pererê

Last on the list and probably the best known legend in Brazil, the history of Saci Pererê. He was influenced by elements of African and indigenous cultures. Appearing in the south of the country, it became nationally known for its influence Monteiro Lobato.

Saci pererê is a mythical being that inhabits forests and has the great characteristic of being naughty and playing tricks on people. He is a small being, he has only one leg and is about half a meter high, although there are versions of the legend that say he can reach three meters in height, if he wants.

He is also known for not having hair or body hair, wearing a red cap on his head and practicing the pipe smoking habit. Some versions of the legend show him with red eyes, while others do not have this characteristic.

One of the most common practices carried out by saci is the act of disturbing horses, especially at night. It is said that Saci tends to suck the blood of horses, in addition to frightening them during the night, so whenever the horses are agitated at night it is because a saci was there. A sign that in fact a saci has done his mischief with horses is the knots and braids that can be found in his manes.

Saci also tends to annoy travelers on the road. He whistles a very high-pitched sound that torments them and makes them uncomfortable because they don’t know where and from whom it comes. In addition, he usually drops the hats worn by travelers, damages the car’s brakes, among other antics.

The saci also invades the houses to play. He can burn the foods that are being made, make them sour, if they are ready, in addition to disappearing with objects, turning off the light in lamps and other antics. The whirlpool has already been seen by many as the work of the saci to lift the foliage and spread dirt.

During this phenomenon, legend says, it is possible to capture the saci. To do this, just cast a certain type of sieve in the middle of the whirlpool. He who captures the saci must remove the cap from his head so that he loses his supernatural powers. The last act is to imprison it in a bottle with a cross drawn on it. The purpose of this is to prevent your escape.

They say that Saci lives for 77 years, then it can turn into a poisonous mushroom or a mushroom found in the “ear-of-stick” trees.

saci perere

And so the list of the 5 great Brazilian legends ends, remember any? Leave it in the comments!