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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

Interesting facts about Christmas in Brazil

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

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Oi, pessoal!

The end-of-the-year holidays are here!

Today I’m going to share with you all some interesting facts about Christmas in Brazil.

1. Christmas in Brazil happens in the summer

If you live in Europe or North America, you are probably used to Christmas being in the winter, with warm clothing, snow, and cold temperatures.

But for people who live in the southern hemisphere, Christmas is in summertime. December is one of the hottest months of the year in Brazil.

2. Christmas in Brazil is celebrated on the night before with the whole family and a big party

Even though Christmas is officially December 25, all Brazilians celebrate Christmas on the 24th at night, usually with a hearty meal, exchanging presents, and lots of celebration!

Each family has their own way of celebrating Christmas. Some families exchange presents before dinner, others after. Some wait for midnight to start dinner.

Christmas is a time to gather the whole family together and sometimes see family that you haven’t seen in a while.

3. Christmas dinner is called Ceia de Natal

Ceia is the last meal of the day. We don’t normally use that word on a day-to-day basis, but we use it to refer to the Christmas Supper and New Year’s Supper.

Do you know what Brazilians eat for the Ceia de Natal? The answer is: it depends!

But I think some dishes are traditional throughout Brazil.

For example:

  • Roasted turkey or chester (a type of chicken)

  • Salpicão de frango, that’s a type of cold chicken salad.

  • Potato salad with mayonnaise, that many people just call maionese.

  • And Panettone, that’s a type of sweet bread from Italy that has a chocolate or dried fruit filling.

4. Celebrating with Secret Santa is very common in Brazil

Usually, big families choose to do a Secret Santa to make it easier to give out presents. In a large family, it’s not easy to give presents to everyone, because it would be expensive and take a long time. So, Secret Santa is the best solution.

Many companies also celebrate Christmas by doing an Amigo Secreto between employees.

In Brazil, Amigo Oculto or Amigo Secreto works like this:

We put each participant’s name on a piece of paper inside of a container. Then, each person draws from the container and should buy a present for whoever they get.

On the day of the party, each person describes their secret friend and everyone else has to guess who it is. It’s really fun!

I hope you enjoyed this lesson!

Happy Holidays!

Speaking Brazilian School Team


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