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  • Writer's pictureSpeaking Brazilian

New Year’s Eve in Brazil: Fun Traditions

Updated: Dec 30, 2022

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Oi, pessoal!

The end of the year is approaching!

To celebrate the New Year (Réveillon), I’d like to share with you all some really fun Brazilian Réveillon traditions:

1. Jumping over seven waves

If you’re at the beach in Brazil on New Year’s Eve, you’ll see lots of people jumping over tiny waves at the seashore.

According to tradition, as soon as the clock strikes midnight, you should jump over seven waves to attract good things in the New Year. For each wave, you make a wish.

This tradition is related to the worship of Iemanjá, the queen of the sea, a deity revered by Afro-Brazilian religions, like Candomblé and Umbanda.

2. Wearing white clothing

Like jumping over seven waves, the tradition of wearing white clothing is also related to Candomblé. But these days, all Brazilians follow this tradition regardless of their religion.

It's very common to wear white on New Year’s Eve. If you go to buy anything around the end of the year in Brazil, you’ll see that all the clothing stores put white clothing in their window displays. And if you go to a party for Réveillon, you’re going to see that 99% of the people there follow this tradition.

3. Wearing colorful lingerie

Many Brazilians, especially women, wear colorful lingerie to attract good things. Each color represents something different. For example, yellow lingerie will attract prosperity, and red lingerie will attract love and passion.

4. Eating lentils

Lentils are a traditional dish at all Brazilian’s Ceia de Ano-Novo (New Year’s Eve Supper) table.

This custom was brought to Brazil by Italian immigrants. According to tradition, eating lentils for the Ceia de Ano-Novo will attract prosperity and abundance.

5. Eating twelve grapes

Following tradition, we should eat twelve grapes when the clock strikes midnight to attract prosperity and peace in the new year. This Spanish-origin custom was adopted by many countries in Latin America.

6. Not eating poultry

Lots of poultry is eaten during Christmas but it’s not welcome at the Ceia Ano-Novo. Many people believe that eating poultry gives you bad luck because chickens scratch backwards.

For this reason, pork and fish are the favored delicacies for Réveillon since they move in a forward direction.

7. Putting a bay leaf in your wallet

It’s common knowledge that at the beginning of the year, you should put a bay leaf in your wallet to attract wealth, and you should leave it there throughout the whole year. On New Year’s Eve, you should throw that bay leaf into flowing water and put a new one in its place.

8. Starting the year off on the right foot (literally)

Another way of attracting good things in the new year is to literally start the year on your right foot. What do I mean? You can do this in different ways. For example, at midnight, you can simply hold up your left foot and stand only on your right foot. Or you can do the countdown to midnight somewhere elevated, like on a chair, table, or stairs, and when it hits midnight, come down on your right foot.

I hope you enjoyed this lesson!

Happy New Year, and see you soon!

Speaking Brazilian School Team


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