A Brazilian Christmas
Many Brazilian Christmas traditions come from Portugal as Portugal ruled Brazil for many years. Nativity Scenes, known as Presépio are very popular. They are set-up in churches and homes all through December.
Most people, especially Catholics, will go to a Midnight Mass service or Missa do Galo (Mass of the Roster). The mass normally finishes about 1.00am. On Christmas day, people might go to church again, but this time the services are often in the afternoon.
After the Missa do Gallo there are often big firework displays and in big towns and cities there are big Christmas Tree shaped displays of electric lights.
In Brazil, Santa Claus is called Papai Noel & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man). Many Christmas customs are similar to ones in the USA or UK.
The weather however is completely different, given that it’s around 40° during December. It can be tough for anyone who has celebrated Christmas with cold weather, snow, hot chocolate, and roaring fires to understand celebrating while you’re sweating constantly!
Sometimes children leave a sock near a window. If Papai Noel finds your sock, he’ll exchange it for a present!
Taking part in a ‘Secret Santa’, known as ‘amigo oculto’ (secret friend) is popular in Brazil at Christmas. It is traditional to give small gifts all through December using a nickname (apelidos). On Christmas Day, people reveal who their amigo secreto was!
The most popular Christmas song in Brazil is ‘Noite Feliz’ (Silent Night).
Favourite Christmas foods in Brazil include pork, turkey, ham, rice, a variety of salads, pork, fresh and dried fruits, Brazil nuts and Panettone, wine and champagne will also be served are also popular accompaniments to Christmas dinners.
Rabanada is a popular Christmas dessert enjoyed by many Brazilians. It is pieces of bread soaked in milk until they’re soggy and then fried in beaten egg and covered in sugar and cinnamon.
Brazilian legend says that the animals like to talk to each other about the Christ child too! The rooster will say Christ is born! In response, the bull asks, where? And then all of the sheep respond, in Bethlehem of Judea!