Christmas in Brazil
Many Brazilian Christmas traditions come from Portugal as Portugal ruled Brazil for many years. Nativity scenes known as Presepio are very popular. They are set up in churches and homes throughout all December. Christmas plays called 'Os Pastores' the Shepherds, like the plays in Mexico, are very popular. In the Brazilian versions of the play, there's also traditionally a shepherdess and a also a woman who tries to steal the baby Jesus. Most people, esp. Catholics, attend a Midnight Mass Service or Missa de Galo (The Mass of the Roster). The mass normally finishes around 1:00 a.m. On Christmas Day, people might attend church again, but it's often in the afternoon. After the Missa de Gallo, there are often big fireworks displays and in big towns and cities there are big Christmas Tree shaped displays of electric lights. In Brazil, Santa Claus is often referred to as Papai Noel & Born Velhinho (Good Old Man).
Many Christmas customs are similar to the ones in the USA or the UK except its hot at Christmas time in Brazil. Many people like to hang out at the beach. Sometimes children leave a sock near the window. If Santa finds the sock, then he'll exchange it for a present. Also, many people in Brazil take part in the Secret Santa (Amigo Secreto) in Brazil. It is traditional to give small gifts throughout December by using a pretend name. On Christmas Day, people reveal who their Amigo Secreto is. the most popular Christmas song in Brazil is Silent Night. In Brazil it's common to get a '13th salary' at the end of the year, which is twice the normal amount of pay you receive for that month. They do that to help boost the economy in Brazil for December. That's been taking place for decades. Favorite foods in Brazil include pork, turkey, ham, salads, and fresh and dried fruits. Everything is served with rice, cooked with raisins, and a spoon of 'farfofa' which is seasoned manoic flower. Popular Christmas desserts include tropical and ice cream. Epiphany, where people remember the wise men visiting Jesus, is widely celebrated in Brazil.