The Diversity of the “Mercadao”

We live in a world with different colors, languages, and cultures. Today in the 21th centuries with the technologies those differences can be easily blended together. I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil one of the cities with the biggest diversity of people in the world. A person from Sao Paulo does not have a face to looks like, simple anyone can be from there. The Municipal Market of Sao Paulo shows well, the blend of culture and diversity that the city has to offer. Elijah Anderson in “The Cosmopolitan Canopy” describes a “…cosmopolitan canopy [as place that] allow people of different backgrounds the chance to slow down and indulge themselves, observing, pondering, and in effect, doing their own folk ethnography, testing or substantiating stereotypes and prejudices or, rarely, acknowledging something fundamentally new about the other” (25).After reading Anderson’s essay, I consider the municipal market into this term because of its history, location, influence of people from many backgrounds, the diversity of products, and the gastronomy. It’s a place that receives people with open arms without racism or harassment.

Figure 1 my sister and I on the “Mercadao”

This picture has been taken by my husband with a Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W 330 camera in 2013. This is me and my young sister, Larissa, at the middle of the Municipal Market of Sao Paulo. In this picture, you can see the amount of people visiting the place and some of the stores. It is possible to see a little bit of the patio on the second floor and high roof. The place is very big and the diversity of people and food just amazes me. In the picture, there are also different people some looking, some working, and some shopping. The diversity of age and colors are also showed in the picture. I love to visit this places that represents Sao Paulo. Even though, I have been in the United Sated for six years I love my city and its diversity.

Figure 2 The entrance of “Mercadao”
Figure 3 The view from the second floor

The Municipal Market of Sao Paulo, also called as “Mercadao”, the word means big marked in Portuguese. It is located at the heart of the city of Sao Paulo and it’s one of the most famous tourist spots. The “Mercadao” just like in Anderson’s essay shows the “Food [as] a major theme, and the smell of food is persuasive.” It offers many different stores and restaurants from all over the world from typical fruits, to some sophisticated restaurants. It is a place “where a diversity of people can feel comfortable enough to relax their drop their guard and go about their business more casually” (Anderson 15). Because it is a place where people are able to leave the difference out and enjoy the best from each culture without harassment. It was opened for the public in 1933. The Market has an area of 12600 square feet. The beautiful architecture of the building was a project of the architect Francisco de Paula Ramos de Azevedo. There are more than 1500 thousand employees at the location and more than 350 ton of food is handled daily (Everything is just one place). Starting from the construction the place received influences from other cultures as Greek architecture for the pools, and a Russian artist, Conrado Sorgenicht Filho, who developed the Windows with pictures of people planting .

Figure 4 Store with gifts of Sao Paulo

The location of the “Mercadao” makes the place even more open to the diversity. Sao Paulo by itself is a huge “Cosmopolitan Canopy” because it has so many different cultures mixed together. I was born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the largest city of South America, and also known as “Sampa” or “Cidade da Garoa” (city of drizzle). The population of the city in 2016 was estimated in 11.9 million. Sao Paulo is the city of the opportunities in Brazil and people from all over the world move to Sao Paulo in hope of a better life. The city has influences of people from all over the world. The people from the city have the most ethically diversity of Brazil. The most countries that you will find descends in Sao Paulo are: Italy, Portugal, Swiss, German, Spain, Japanese, Arabia, Jewish, and Africa (Sao Paulo Population 2017). The mixed of the city just makes it more special for me and the Marked just reflects this huge city and population in one small space. As Anderson says, “The existence of the canopy allows such people, whose reference point often remains their own social class or ethnic group, a chance to encounter others and so work toward a more cosmopolitan appreciation of difference” (Anderson 28). Naturally any city will have their social and economic problem, but people in Sao Paulo will welcome the diversity with open harms making it a welcoming place to share and blend the different traditions.

Figure 5 “Rua 25 de Marco”

Other point that helps with the location is that the Municipal Market of Sao Paulo is walking distance of the “Rua 25 de marco” (25th of March street). This street is the biggest commerce in open land of the Latin America with more than 3thousand stores. You can find near anything at those stores from toys to jewelry to wedding gowns (Rua 25 de marco). This commerce receives thousands of people a day bringing more business to the “Mercadao

Figure 6 Fruits
Figure 7 Meats
Figure 8 Spices

In addition, the “Mercadao” offers many different cultural foods to the population. It is considerate an important gastronomic point of the city. Socializing with different food is a way of accepting the different culture because, “When diverse people are eating one another’s food, strangers in the abstract can become somewhat more human and a social good is performed for those observing” (Anderson 17). The people are leaving their comfort zone in search of new tastes and sensations. “Mercadao” is a place where you can find restaurants from Italy, different areas of Brazil, Portugal, Spain, and etc. Also, you can find exotic fruits, vegetables, cheese, spices, olives, wines, beers, and juices from all over the world. Many high-top restaurants visit the place in search of special spices and food for their fancy dishes (Mercado Municipal).

Figure 9 Cod’s Pastel and Sandwich of Mortadella

The most famous and typical dishes of the “Mercadao” are the sandwich of mortadella and the cod’s pastel (Mercado Municipal). The dishes are very big and hard to eat alone. They have a unique flavor and the visitants cannot leave the place without trying it. Those are the typical dishes but there are many other dishes from different cultures that can be tried at the market.

I believe that having a place where people can share their cultures and are comfortable enough to leave their comfort zones can only bring benefits to the population in general. Elijah Anderson explains that a “Cosmopolitan Canopy” is where people from many races mix without minding for the other people’s differences. I found a good example of cosmopolitan canopy in the “Mercadao” because it has influences from people of all over the world. It’s located in a city where people from different areas are welcomed with open arms. People visit this area daily and cultures get mixed. There are restaurants and fruits from all over the world for people to try. It is a place where the cultures blend together without racism or harassment.

Work Cited

Anderson, Elijah. The Cosmopolitan Canopy: Race and Civility in Everyday Life. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co, 2011. Print.

“Everything is just one place.” Portal do Mercadao”-Mercado Municipal de Sao Paulo-Everything in just one place.N.p.,n.d.Web 16 May 2017.

“Mercado Municipal” N.p., n.d. web. 16 May 2017

“Rua 25 de marco” N.p., n.d. web. 16 May 2017

“Sao Paulo Population 2017.” Sao Paulo Population 2017- World Population Review. N.p., 26 Oct. 2016. Web.16 May 2017

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