Christmas in Brazil

How do I wish someone there a Happy Christmas?

  • Feliz Natal

When do they give presents?

  • Christmas Eve

Who brings the presents?

  • Santa Claus, here known as Papai Noel

What’s on the menu?

  • Popular dishes include a roasted Chester (a large ball of chicken or turkey breast), salted cod, cold potato salad, and a variety of other salads. Rabanadas are a Brazilian Christmas dessert. They’re made from bread dipped in milk and eggs, fried and then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon.

Any other traditions I should know about?

  • The main celebrations happen on Christmas Eve. They involve eating, drinking and lots of dancing with close family and friends.
  • One of Brazil’s cities – Natal – was named after Christmas. Founded on Christmas Day in 1599, it runs a competition for the best decorated homes, shops and businesses.
  • With large extended families meeting up for Christmas, Secret Santa, or Amigo Secreto, has become a popular way to cut the cost of presents.
  • Stollen – a fruit bread made with nuts and spices - is a popular Christmas treat in the south of the country. That's because lots of people of German ancestry settled in the area.