In the late 1990s a soap opera set in late 19th century Brazil glorified the lives of Italian settlers. The program's name was "Terra Nostra," and it led to a flurry of shops and products with some variation of "terra" and "nostra" in the name. A few years later, when I first made my home in Brazil, another soap opera came on called "O Clone." Part of the story was set in modern-day Morocco. Naturally, belly dancing became all the rage. Soap operas exert enormous cultural influence in Brazil, driving many trends and fads. If there's a pop song you can't seem to escape because it's playing everywhere there, you can be almost certain it's part of the soundtrack for a current telenovela.
Other fads are fairly inexplicable. In 2002-2003 it became commonplace to see teen girls wearing pin-back buttons all over their jackets and/or backpacks. I have no idea where the fad came from, but shops all over were selling the buttons, sporting everything from national flags to images of cannabis and popular bands. Then, just as quickly as it started, the fad passed.
In recent years Brazil has made great strides in reducing illiteracy, but it has made precious little headway in creating a culture of literacy. People don't have the reading habit as they do in the United States, perhaps for lack of good reading material, but more likely because it hasn't been instilled from childhood in Brazil as it has in the U.S. Runs of books in Brazil rarely go over 10,000. Most do well to sell half that. There is one type of book that's gaining ground, at least temporarily, in Brazil: the coloring book.
Specifically, coloring books for adults are experiencing great success. As someone who used a coloring book to 'de-stress' at one point in life, I can appreciate the value people see in them. During my last full-time ministry I suffered a lot of anxiety. Pressures of family and the faith community were a bit much for me, and ultimately I learned that a lot of this had to do with systemic ills in the congregation (and a few bullies). In any event, coloring in a children's book helped me relax. I also took up baking around the same time.
Watching the report below, though, it's impossible for me to believe that this new trend in Brazil is anything more than a fad. I don't give it even a year.