Brazil has a special talent of borrowing habits, flavors, and customs from other cultures and adding an irresistible twist of Brazilian personality, creating a new version that is truly ours. Like adding non-conventional ingredients to sushi. Or filling pizza crust with catupiry cheese.
It’s the same with the holiday season. From Catholic Europe to the tropics, the season’s celebrations get a whole new vibe when Brazil throws in its summer zest.
Here are 5 things you didn’t know about the holiday time in Brazil.
1. Christmas Eve is a greater event than Christmas day
Families gather at the night of December 24th for a special dinner as they wait for midnight, which is the time for gift giving. We celebrate Christmas day usually by having the (delicious) leftovers of the night before.
2. Panettone is a must (so are its variations)
This traditional dry-fruit bread (that looks a bit more like a cake) is originally from Italy. But of course, Brazil didn’t just adopt it as a national tradition — we also made our own chocolatey version of it. We call it… Chocottone.
3. We’re superstitious about what we eat
Especially on New Year’s Eve. For example: having lentils is meant to bring prosperity (because they’re shaped like coins). Eating a pomegranate and keeping 3 dry seeds in your wallet all year is also said to bring good fortune.
4. We wear white on New Year’s Eve
We say it manifests peace in the new year, but the habit actually comes from African Candomblé religious practices. We wear other colors too, based on what they symbolize and what we wish for the year ahead. The color of every piece of clothing (down to the underwear!) matters.
5. There are many versions of Secret Santa
Besides the fun gifting tradition we call Amigo Secreto (which means ‘secret friend’), a group of people can decide to play Amigo Ladrão (‘robber friend’, which involves a game of snatching gifts from one another), or Amigo da Onça (‘friend of the leopard’, which is basically roasting who you love with funny gifts). It gets loud.
Looking for special gifts to give this holiday season? How about a bit of Brazilian body care? Check out our holiday collections. There are special offers waiting for you.