How to Celebrate Christmas like a Brazilian
If you’re spending Christmas in Brazil, why not celebrate it like a local. Marketing Assistant, Barbara, shares her top 5 ways to enjoy a traditional Brazilian Christmas:
1. Beach on Christmas Day
Nothing is more Brazilian than catching some rays at the beach on Christmas morning. Being the summer season, most families gather along a small picnic, a large consumption of beer or caipirinha, newly received toys and head out to soak up some sun to enjoy the tropical beaches. Some beaches such as Copacabana Beach have Christmas themed sand castles and decorations to entertain all.
2. Midnight Mass
Given that the majority of the population are Christian, families gather to either attend or watch the ‘Missa do Galo’ streamed live from the Vatican. Many, families with small children in particular, prefer to watch the mass conducted by the Pope.
3. Midnight Christmas Dinner
The biggest differentiation from western countries is that Christmas dinner is enjoyed at midnight or on return from mass, which is where it gathers its name ‘Missa do Galo’. A feast is prepared with roast meat (beef, pork etc), turkey, farofa (toasted manioc flour mixed with chicken or turkey giblets, salpicao (chicken and vegetable mayonnaise salad with crispy potato on top), rice with vegetables and salad. The left over from the midnight dinner is then served again on Christmas day – unsurprisingly it tastes even better second time around! Many restaurants are now offering the traditional midnight dinner or lunch serving the traditional dishes.
A must for Christmas Day is to enjoy some rabanadas. Similar to a French toast, the rabanada is fried bread covered in cinnamon or syrup of honey, port and cinnamon. As early on as November, rabanadas can be found in some cafés, so if spotted make sure to have try it.
5. Nativity Scene
In every household, in various sizes or forms a nativity scene known as ‘Presépio’ is found. With a variety to buy, from tiny crystal ornaments or hand carved wooden pieces, a ‘Presépio’ is the perfect gift to bring for a friend or family member. We received ours from my grandmother many years ago and it continues to be a treasured gift.
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Real Latin America Experts
Sophie Barber - Travel Consultant
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia.
Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant
Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.
Paul Winrow-Giffin - Travel Consultant
After graduating in Computer Science, Paul spent seven months travelling from Colombia to Argentina and came home hooked on Latin America.
Carrie Gallagher - Travel Consultant
A former JLA tour leader, Carrie brings a wealth of on-the-ground experience to our London-based Escorted Groups team.
Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant
Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.
Evie Oswald - Travel Consultant
It’s hard to believe that Evie has had time to cram so much in to her life so far. Having lived as a child in the Americas and Europe she found herself immediately attracted to Latin America.