We hope you enjoy and learn more about Christmas in Brazil.
The Official Season for socializing with family and close friends is finally here.
Like Americans, Brazilians like to put their creativity on display and decorate their homes, streets, and businesses.
Our traditions were influenced by Christmas Traditions around the world. Brazil was colonized by Portugal, invaded by Spain and the Netherlands, and has received many immigrants from various countries around the globe. The various traditions that have come to Brazil have been adapted to our culture and warm climate.
In many Brazilian homes, the typical Christmas Tree and Nativity Scene representing the birth of Jesus Christ are must-haves. There are not many pine trees around Brazil but, we are very creative in building our own special trees. The charismatic figure of Santa Claus is everywhere wearing the same red and warm outfit as known around the world even tough Santa could probably use less warm clothes since most the snow around is "fake" beside a few cities that took the white Christmas seriously and built entire mini towns covered in snow, with activities such as ice skating and ski. One of the most popular places to see and touch real man-made snowflakes is Gramado in the south of Brazil, one of the most famous Christmas destinations. There's lots of food and plenty of gifts as well! Long lists and busy shopping trips are part of the pre-festivity tasks. Once purchased, gifts are placed under the Christmas tree. Generally, families open gifts on the 24th, but there are those who wait for the morning of the 25th.
On December 24th, after the Midnight Mass, we serve the Christmas Dinner. The Main Menu consists of turkey, "Chester" (Oversized Brazilian chicken), rice with raisins, farofa, mayonnaise salad, Rabanadas (our Portuguese french toast), fruits of all types are very traditional to decorate the Christmas table and last but not least Panettone an Italian specialty very common in most Brazilian households. Since Brazil is a very large country, Christmas traditions sometimes vary in different regions. Traditionally, after Christmas Eve Dinner, family and friends gather in the living room around the Christmas Tree where they exchange gifts and play Secret Santa. And yes, it's an overnight event! Typically, the family comes together for a big lunch the next day with what's left from the night before. After all, who would have the strength to start cooking all over again the next day?
If you don't mind spending the holidays away from home, it is worth traveling with family. There are several places in Brazil where you can enjoy the Christmas weather. Especially in the Southeast and South of the country! Many cities invest in this market and prepare special schedules to receive visitors. How about switching up the program and enjoying Christmas Magic in one of these cities? Let's take a tour around these towns?
Rio de Janeiro
In the exuberant Rio one of the most famous city in Brazil, the Christmas Tree in Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas (Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon) is the main Christmas Symbol of the "Marvelous City". It is the largest floating tree in the country and can be seen from different parts of the pond's outline. From the opening until January 6, several free events take place around the tree. Petrópolis, in Rio's Mountain Region, promotes one of the largest Christmas events in the country: The Imperial Christmas. With various attractions, such as video mapping, light and sound shows, and the luminous parade. In Penedo, anywhere you look, you can't help but notice the Scandinavian influence on architecture and cuisine. It is the first Finnish colony in Brazil. There you can find the "Little Finland Mall", which at the end of the year for Christmas turns into a village with flamboyantly decorated wooden houses and it's famous floating umbrela street. Take the opportunity to combine your Christmas stay with the New Year's Celebration, since Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the biggest parties on the planet with famous fireworks and live music concerts all along Copacabana Beach.
In the state's capital, Paulista Avenue, Ibirapuera Park's Christmas tree and decorated malls are among the most visited (and photographed) attractions by fans this time of year. Campos do Jordão, known for its famous Winter Festival in June and July, is also decorated in December to receive tourists during the Christmas season. Several cultural attractions are scheduled for this time. Among the highlights, there is decoration in the Main Square, a Christmas Parade and several musical performances. Some hotels even have special programming such as Santa's piano bar cocktail, Christmas dinner with live music, and special Christmas brunch.
Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul
Christmas Lights is the largest Christmas event in the world and one of the most sought after in the country. During this period, the city has live music shows, fireworks, floats and a packed schedule of events for the whole family. The party takes place every year from October 30th until January 15th, bringing together about 500 events in the most famous city of Serra Gaucha. In neighboring Canela, the Christmas Dream Program completes the beauty of the region that is one of the most sought after by Brazilians at this time of year. So enjoy it because there is so much to see there.
In December, Curitiba becomes the "Capital of Christmas". The city is known for the Classic Choirs that make everything even more beautiful. In addition, the municipality also celebrates the date with gastronomic fairs, cultural performances and contests, Christmas exhibitions such as Santa's House, and beautiful street decorations.
Blumenau, Santa Catarina
The city of Blumenau truly embraces the Christmas Spirit. The Germanic Village is occupied by the Magia de Natal, or "Magic Christmas Party", which maintains typical attractions of German culture. Three themed parades are scheduled and you can also visit Santa's House and the "Snow Space", a place all decorated with dolls, lights, and fake snow. Be sure to check out their Christmas Market where you can do some shopping and workshops.
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte
To close the tour around Brazil, nowhere better than Natal (a city that literally translates to "Christmas"). In the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, tourists can enjoy a real tropical Christmas on warm water beaches, dune walks, and festive evenings. The city, which was founded on December 25, has the Mirassol Square as one of its most visited places in the end of the year. After all, a tree over 100 meters high is displayed there. In the surroundings, tourists can enjoy the Craft Fair, folkloric performances, street parties, and pyrotechnic shows. The events take place until January 6th.
So which of our cities would you spend next Christmas? Also, don't forget that it could be a great idea to have a winter break and visit the southern hemisphere for a Tropical holiday!
We hope you fall in love with Brazil and it's Christmas Traditions as much as we have.
-from Bellina Caetano Team.