What Does Santa say in Brazilian Portuguese?
Turns out, he says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” just like in the US!
We asked one of our Brazilian Portuguese translators to tell us about how he and his countrymen celebrate Christmas in Brazil. From dinner to decorations, and even a popular Christmas song, he helps us peek into his culture’s holiday experiences.
Guest post by Márcio Rezende
Even though Brazil is a very warm country and Christmas is celebrated during our summer, I believe the traditions are very similar to the ones in the United States. Christmas is the most important holiday of the year here in Brazil.
Even though the holiday is on the 25th of December, we celebrate at midnight on the 24th. This is when several delicious dishes are served for Christmas dinner. Brazilians incorporated many dishes from Portugal, our colonizer, such as French toast and codfish. Rice, nuts, salads, and many Brazilian fruits are also added to the meal. The most traditional dish here in Brazil? Turkey. You can also see chicken or even pork shank served for the meal.
The celebration commonly continues for a lot of Brazilians who get together with their families the following day to have lunch.
Christmas decorations are also very present here in Brazil. Like in the United States, under the Christmas tree is where Santa Claus puts gifts. Usually the trees are fake, and some of them even come with fake snow to simulate trees from northern countries. Christmas lights are also used to decorate houses and the most-visited places in the cities, but I believe that is done less frequently than in the United States, where neighbors compete for the most lit-up and creative house decoration. Although decorations are typically put up in November, retailers start selling Christmas items and deals with all kinds of gifts much earlier in the year. It’s the most profitable time of the year!
Another Christmas tradition among many people here in Brazil is the Secret Santa. Near Christmas, people get together with their families, colleagues, or friends to participate in this game. Initially, each person’s name is written on a piece of paper. Then everyone gets a piece of paper with the name of another person who’s participating. Finally, they exchange gifts with each other. It is very funny!
Papai Noel dos Correios
A very interesting campaign here in Brazil is called Papai Noel dos Correios (Santa Claus from the Post Office). The campaign’s goal is to respond to children’s letters to Santa Claus. In order to do this, anyone can go to a post office, pick a card, and send a gift to a child. The children are usually those whose parents cannot afford to buy gifts for Christmas. This campaign is getting very popular here in Brazil, and it is very touching since many children ask for basic things such as school supplies.
Popular Christmas Songs
One of the most popular Christmas songs here in Brazil is “Bate o Sino,” which is our version of “Jingle Bells”:
I hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Feliz Natal!