Christmas Celebration in Brazil
Traditional Christmas celebration in Brazil resembles somewhat to that of Western Europe. This day is marked with native meets, family dinners, Christmas trees and Santa. In Brazil, Santa Claus is also known as Papai Noel or Bom Velhinho which means Good Old Man. The tradition of Christmas says that children leave a sock near the window and if the Santa Claus passes by he will exchange it with a gift. To illuminate his way, people decorate Christmas trees with huge neon lights and light fireworks to embark the occasion. The largest Christmas tree is found in Rio de Janerio on Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon weighing around 542 tons and is decorated with some 3.3 million bulbs.
Brazilians hold dinner for their entire family, where all their near ones like uncles, aunts, and cousins meet up. This might turn up in a costly affair as buying gifts for everyone might be expensive and time-consuming also. For this there is an alternative wherein a Secret Santa or Amigo Oculto is given accountability of buying a gift for a particular person without the knowledge of that person. On the eve of giving the present, the giver will first describe the person until everyone guesses who it is.
Christmas food in Brazil is most important for the day. It reflects persuasion of many cultures like Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Germany etc. the main course usually includes Turkey Breast, vegetables, colored rice, ham, potato salads, lasagna, and few other dishes.
Brazil has got the recognition of an independent sovereign country but it still carries certain customs inherited from its colonial past as far as Christmas Celebration in Brazil is concerned. A nativity scene or Presepio is a must in Christmas celebration in Brazil. Presepio is the straw bed on which Jesus was first put to sleep in Bethlehem. The nativity scene is a highly popular Christmas custom in Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Piaui, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Ceara, Paraíba, Maranhao and Bahia. Almost every home and store in Brazil put up nativity scene at the time of Christmas celebration.
Folk play adaptations form the basis of Christmas Celebration in Brazil and especially the people of Northern Brazil enjoy “The Shepherds” or Los Pastores at the Christmas time. The Brazilians believe that it were shepherdesses who tried to kidnap baby Jesus and not the shepherds.
Christmas Celebration in Brazil means waiting for Papai Noel or Father Noel who is believed to play the role of Santa Clause and hence his main function is to bring gifts.
It is believed that Father Noel dwells in Greenland and he comes to Brazil in silk clothing during Christmas. Christmas celebration in Brazil is incomplete without the summer special dinner where colored rice, turkey, ham, vegetables and fruit dishes are served.
The religious Catholics will surely attend the Missa do Galo, Midnight Mass which usually ends at 1 pm on Christmas morning. People enjoy late sleeping on 25th December and so, Christmas masses are mostly held in late afternoon.