Are you curious what celebrating the holiday season is like in Brazil? We're sharing the uniquely Brazilian traditions that shape this special time of year. They're not unlike many other parts of the world, but there are a few quirky differences that make their holidays bacana (cool)!
Christmas Eve is the time to celebrate the holiday in Brazil! Many Catholics will go to church that evening, for a mass called the Misa de Gallo, or Mass of the Rooster. They return home to enjoy dinner, presents, and a toast around midnight. Christmas day is more low-key, spent relaxing with family and friends and snacking on leftovers from the night before for lunch.
Amigo Secreto - Secret Santa
"Amigo Secreto," or secret friend, or "Amigo Oculto," hidden friend, is a popular tradition in which families and friends will anonymously give a gift to one person, instead of gifting to everyone in the group. A price limit is set and everyone gets to figure out who gifted who what, adding to the fun celebrations of the day.
In Brazil, Santa Claus is called Papai Noel. Instead of coming down the chimney, a fun Brazilian Christmas tradition for children is leaving a sock near the window, and Papai Noel finds the sock and exchanges it for a gift.
Christmas at the Beach
Christmas comes during the summertime in Brazil, so it's not uncommon for many families to spend the day at the beach! It's flip flop, swimsuit and sunglass weather. Palm trees are decorated with string lights and there may be a few rounds of soccer afoot - no pun intended.
And last but certainly not least, the food! It's tradition to make a big family meal that is enjoyed together on Christmas Eve. The meal will often include turkey, ham, salads, fresh fruits (Açaí, anyone?), rice cooked with raisins, and the traditional spoonful of farofa, or seasoned manioc flour. Brazilian Christmas Food has also been influenced by a diverse array of cultures including Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Germany. One very popular dessert is Italian panettone bread served with coffee. YUM!
Did you find any of these Brazilian traditions interesting? Let us know which one was your favorite in the comments below.