Brazilian Christmas traditions are from Portugal since the latter ruled over Brazil many years ago. During the festivities, there are nativity scenes popularly known as Presépio, which are set up in churches and homes in December.
There are also plays called ‘Os Pastores,’ which in English is known as ‘ The shepherds.’
These plays are very similar to the ones in Mexico and are also considered to be very popular.
In the Brazilian version of the play, there is a shepherdess and a woman who attempts to steal baby Jesus!
In Brazil, the majority of the population are Catholics, and they go for a Midnight Mass service called ‘Missa do Galo,’ better known as ‘Mass of the Roster.’
The mass goes on until 1:00 am. They also celebrate Epiphany, where they remember the wise men visiting Jesus.
On Christmas day, people still attend church services, which are held in the afternoon to allow people to get some rest from the late-night mass.
Of course, this is after families have had a special lunch.
The families sometimes going to visit friends and relatives after the mass. The common song that is always sung is ‘ Noite Feliz’ popularly known by the English name ‘ Silent Night.’
The Missa do Galo is always followed by breath-taking displays of fireworks, which are just a sight to behold.
In the big cities and towns, there never misses a big Christmas tree with electric lights to add up to the light moods of the people caught up in the hustle-bustle of preparing for the big day.
Santa Claus, who is well known by his Brazilian names, ‘Papai Noel’ and ‘Bom Velhinho,’ which in English is ‘Good old man.’
During Christmas eve, kids leave socks at the window for him to fill it up with presents!
Unique Traditions During Xmas
The fun part is taking part in ‘amigo secreto,’ which means ‘secret friend.’ As a tradition, people give out small gifts in December using a pretend name [apelidos], and on Christmas day people get to know who their apelidos was!
The only difference is that in Brazil, it is the summer season during Christmas, so people hang around the beaches due to the high temperatures brought about by the burning sun.
The most mind-blowing and fantastic tradition that has been carried out in Brazil for ages now is people getting a ‘13th’ salary. In December, employees are paid twice their salary! How amazing is that!
This initiative is aimed at improving the economy during the festive period. Well, try bringing that up in another country. I don’t even want to know the reaction.
The favorite dishes across Brazil include pork, turkey, ham, salads, and dried fruits. A side dish of rice cooked with raisins with a spoonful of ‘farofa’ or the seasoned manioc never misses at the table.
The cherry on top of the cake? The well-known dessert is tropical ice cream.
The Brazilian population is a mixture of cultures from various countries, so there is always a touch of cuisines from several countries like Italy, Africa, and Portugal.
The final tradition that brings people together in Brazil is meal being served at 10 p.m on Christmas eve, and when the clock strikes midnight, people greet each other and exchange presents.
These festive activities all together make Christmas in Brazil worth remembering.
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Main Points About Christmas in Brazil
- For Brazilians, Christmas means a time for family, religious reflections and so much to eat and drink.
- Christmas meals are often eaten at midnight on Christmas eve. The meals include rice, raisins, turkey, ham, pork, ice cream, salads, fresh and dried fruits.
- Because of the sunny weather, Christmas is given a tropical feel and ‘Secret Santa’ called ‘Amigo Secreto’ is popular in Brazil at Christmas time.
- Noite Feliz (Silent Night) is the most popular Christmas song.
- The Brazilian tradition of decoration, ‘presepio’ is often used during Christmas. People create nativity scenes with straws and palms to represent the bed of straw upon which baby Jesus laid.
Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on the 25th and thousands of Catholics attend the Midnight Mass, ”Missa do Galo”, on Christmas Eve.
Fireworks can be seen in big cities after the Midnight Mass has finished.
Santa Claus is called Papai Noel & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man) and many employees get a ”13th salary” at the end of the year – you get paid double the amount in December to help boost the economy around Christmas!
Word Cloud for Christmas in Brazil
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Brazil. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.