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Christmas and New Year's Eve under the Brazilian sun



December is a very special month, marked by the celebration of Christmas and the end of the year. In Brazil, as in the rest of the world, this season is celebrated through traditions that have been maintained over the years. ... the difference? Here, it's summer! Imagine experiencing the magic of Christmas and New Year's Eve under the Brazilian sun, where the celebrations are held outdoors, with vibrant colours, infectious music and a festive atmosphere that reflects the unique joy of Brazil.



Being such a vast country, Christmas customs in Brazil can vary from region to region - however, there are always those that are common and observed by all!

Starting with the Christmas lights and decorations, this is a universal tradition adopted by the Brazilian people. From the squares to the famous avenues, city streets are illuminated and come alive with lights and decorations which are typical of the season. But it doesn't stop there. can also find lights and decorations in family homes, especially on the Christmas tree, which is usually put up on 6 December.

And speaking of Christmas trees . . if you're in Rio de Janeiro, take the opportunity to visit the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon Christmas Tree - at 85 metres high, it is considered the largest floating Christmas tree in the world! Also take the opportunity to visit the Saara market. It’s a permanent fixture, but becomes a Christmas market during the festive season, selling festive decorations and gifts.

In the city of São Paulo, don't miss the decorations on Avenida Paulista, as well as the snow show, which takes place every night of the month between 6pm and 11.30pm! You can also enjoy Christmas in Ibirapuera Park, where you'll find the biggest Christmas tree in São Paulo, along with shows, illuminations, festive music and much more!

Another great custom is Father Christmas, who is something of a brand image for the Christmas season, especially for the little ones. Every year, Brazilian children eagerly await the arrival of this jolly figure, with his red clothes and white beard, and they leave stockings in their homes to be exchanged for presents. And if he doesn't turn up at home . .. don't worry, you can visit him in a whole range of stores and shopping centres all over Brazil!

Setting up a nativity scene is another custom that marks this time of year and symbolises the preparation for the celebration of Jesus' birth. The nativity scene usually includes the Baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, an Angel, a Star, animals and the three Wise Men. ... however, there are always those who opt for a more minimalist version, with just the Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

And because Christmas is a time when it's compulsory to have a full belly, Christmas dinner is one of the most significant traditions in Brazil. The meal brings together family and friends and takes place on 24 December. Traditional Brazilian dishes such as farofa, salpicão, rabanadas and, of course, the typical turkey are essential! One thing's for sure: your mouth will be watering!

In addition to all these traditions, Brazilians also choose to hold many celebrations outdoors, in order to take advantage of the good weather typical of this time of year!

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve in Brazil is what you might call a truly magical and unforgettable experience. In addition to the traditional rituals observed in various parts of the world (such as sharing a toast with sparkling wine), there are customs specific to this country that attract thousands of people every year. ...

One of them is to wear white clothes on New Year's Eve - but why white?! According to Western culture, this is a colour that symbolises peace and is often associated with moments of transition and spirituality. In contrast, it is also customary to wear coloured underwear ! . and each colour represents something different: wearing white brings Peace, pink brings Love, yellow brings Wealth, green brings Hope and blue brings Good Energy!

Along with clothing, and helped by the climate, it's traditional to go into the sea at midnight and jump seven waves, while you make one wish for the New Year with each jump. ... this helps to attract good luck for the year ahead and to leave all the bad things behind! This is a unique moment and definitely not to be missed! If you're visiting Rio de Janeiro at this time, try spending midnight on Copacabana Beach, one of the busiest beaches on New Year's Eve.

The fireworks display at midnight is also something memorable which transfixes thousands of people on Copacabana Beach, intoxicated at the amazing spectacle and its boundless energy. You can see in their eyes and expressions a deep desire for good times and positive energy! On the beaches of Búzios, the fireworks display is just as special, albeit on a smaller scale. In São Paulo, the Avenida Paulista is transformed into a sea of people eager to see in the New Year with a fireworks display - a moment for connection between people of all backgrounds, celebrating the turn of the year together and the promise of new opportunities.

On a more spiritual note, in coastal towns it is customary to ask Iemanjá (a spirit that protects the waters) for protection and peace for the New Year by giving gifts such as beauty products or white roses.

Finally, there are some foods that Brazilians consider essential on New Year's Eve - among them the pomegranate - whose seeds are considered a way of attracting prosperity. Normally, you eat the pulp of the pomegranate and keep seven seeds wrapped in paper until the 12th night of the year, then put the seeds in your wallet to attract money! In Brazil they also eat 12 grapes, representing each month of the year; you should eat a grape every time the clock strikes to bring good energy for the new year.

If you're thinking of visiting Brazil during this festive season, you won't regret it . .. good energy, traditional food and the contagious happiness of the Brazilian people are just some of the things that make this month so special!

The PortoBay Rio de Janeiro, L’Hotel PortoBay São Paulo and PortoBay Búzios hotels are also offering a festive programme especially for you. .. shall we make some memories together?!


See what Christmas and New Year's Eve is like in our hotel destinations !!

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