Christmas in Brazil

Many Brazilian Christmas traditions come from Portugal as Portugal ruled Brazil for many years. Nativity Scenes, known as Pres├ępio are very popular. They are set-up in churches and homes all through December.

Christmas plays called Los Pastores (The Shepherds), like the plays in Mexico are also popular. In the Brazilian versions of the play, there's also traditionally a shepherdess and also a woman who tries to steal the baby Jesus!

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.

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 secreto' (secret friend) is popular in Brazil at Christmas. It is traditional to give small gifts all through December using a pretend name (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, salad, pork and fresh and dried fruits, Brazil nuts and Panettone.

Epiphany, when people remember the Wise Men visiting Jesus, is widely celebrated in Brazil.

Christmas Around the World