Christmas Traditions in Brazil

Like in many countries globally, 25th December is a special day in Brazil. It is Christmas day! It is a time when you spend more time with your family as well as enjoy fabulous feasts. Furthermore, several Brazilian Christmas traditions are usually lively and exciting. Planning to spend your Christmas in Brazil but aren’t sure about the Christmas traditions? In this guide, we will discuss some of the Christmas traditions in Brazil.

5 top Christmas Traditions in Brazil

Traditional Christmas in Brazil has a rich history. According to Bernard de Laguiche, most of its traditions and superstitions were acquired from the Portuguese settlers that entered the country more than five centuries ago. That is why a traditional Brazilian Christmas is not very different from Christmas in America or Western Europe. Here are the major Christmas traditions in Brazil.

#1. Papai Noel

One Christmas tradition that has lasted over time is that Brazilian Santa Claus as Papain Noel. It is known as a good old man who wears a red and white silk robe and moves from one home to another, distributing gifts to everyone on this special day. It is said that during Christmas, the kids who hang a sock close to the window Papai Noel will come and interchange the sock/stocking with a gift.

#2. Nativity Scenes

One of the most significant Brazilian Christmas traditions is to display Presepio, a nativity scene in homes, stores, streets, and churches. This tradition was introduced in the 17th century by Gaspar de Santa Agostinho, a Portuguese Friar and is valid up to date; the Nativity Scene has remained an essential part of Christmas in Brazil ever since. The Prepesio comes from the Latin word “Presepium” and entails a bed made of straws where baby Jesus was laid on in Bethlehem.

#3. A thirteenth Salary

The thirteenth salary is another favourite Christmas tradition in Brazil. It involves receiving a 13th salary during the festive season. That means the employees receive a double salary in December. Former president João Goularin introduced this tradition in the early 60s in an attempt to raise the economy by increasing sales and tax returns around the Christmas season. Usually, the 13th salary is paid in two instalments. 1st installment is paid before 30th November and the 2nd before 20th December.

#4. Christmas Eve is a big deal in Brazil

Up to date, Christmas eve remains the main event of the festive season. And since many Brazilians are family-oriented, they gather with family and friends on the night of the 24th when they hold a big party. They hang out and enjoy deliciously prepared dinners served with various drinks until midnight. When midnight exactly clicks, people greet each other wishing everyone a merry Christmas and opening the gifts.

Also, a good number of people in Brazil spend their Christmas Eve attending midnight mass, known as Missa do Galo. About 54% of Brazilians are Catholics; hence you can guess how big in numbers the people attend the mass!

#5. Food for Days!

Another Christmas norm in Brazil is feasting. In Brazil, Christmas means more food and drinks. They hold big gatherings attended by family members to enjoy the day and eat together. On this day the main dishes served include stuffed turkey and Chester, roasted pork, or ham, mostly known as ham in Brazil. All dishes are served with various salads, such as chicken salads and potato salads, along with white rice and all kinds of beans. Also, their feast includes multiple fruits and desserts such as Rabanada and pave dessert. Some drinks you can enjoy on Christmas in Brazil include a coconut cocktail, red wine cocktail, or cashew apple cocktail.

Wrap Up

Christmas is a special day in Brazil celebrated with lots of merry, food and exciting music. There are several Christmas traditions that Brazilian has been practising for years on this day. On Christmas day, Brazilians still believe Papain Noel provides gifts in exchange for sock children usually hang near their windows. Also, the day is marked with lots of feasts, decorations, and Nativity Scenes, and Christmas Eve also stands as a big deal to the Brazilians. 

Written by Bernard de Laguiche