Boas Festas e Feliz Ano Novo

Brazil is a mix of people from many parts of the world - especially Portugal from which many of their traditions originate. One of these is the 'PresÚpio' or Nativity scene (from the Hebrew word 'presepium' meaning the bed of straw in which Jesus first slept after birth) which was introduced in the 17th century by a Franciscan friar named Gaspar de Santo Agostinho. They can be seen in churches, houses and stores throughout the country during December and the beginning of January.

The weather in Brazil is very hot at this time of year as it is their summer.
However, many people represent the falling snow by putting little pieces of cotton
wool on pine trees. They also put lights and decorations on trees and sing carols
with friends and families.

On Christmas Eve the meal is laid out before people attend the 'Missa do Galo'
(Mass of the Rooster) at midnight, so that the Holy family may eat if they wish.
There is a variety of food which reflects the different cultures within Brazil - turkey, chicken, ham, coloured rice, salad and fresh or dried fruit.
Port and beer are drunk with the meal.

The meal is eaten after the service, with the children being served first so that they can go to sleep in order for Papai Noel to fill their shoes with gifts and sweets. Because of the heat Papai Noel has to wear silk clothing as his usual heavy clothes would be too warm for him.

On Christmas morning, after church, families get together and exchange
their gifts and presents.