How to Celebrate Christmas like a BrazilianBarbara Zanotelli Rodrigues - Former Travel Expert
If you’re spending Christmas in Brazil, why not celebrate it like a local. Marketing Assistant, Barbara, shares her top 5 ways to enjoy a traditional Brazilian Christmas:
1. Beach on Christmas Day
Nothing is more Brazilian than catching some rays at the beach on Christmas morning. Being the summer season, most families gather along a small picnic, a large consumption of beer or caipirinha, newly received toys and head out to soak up some sun to enjoy the tropical beaches. Some beaches such as Copacabana Beach have Christmas themed sand castles and decorations to entertain all.
2. Midnight Mass
Given that the majority of the population are Christian, families gather to either attend or watch the ‘Missa do Galo’ streamed live from the Vatican. Many, families with small children in particular, prefer to watch the mass conducted by the Pope.
3. Midnight Christmas Dinner
The biggest differentiation from western countries is that Christmas dinner is enjoyed at midnight or on return from mass, which is where it gathers its name ‘Missa do Galo’. A feast is prepared with roast meat (beef, pork etc), turkey, farofa (toasted manioc flour mixed with chicken or turkey giblets, salpicao (chicken and vegetable mayonnaise salad with crispy potato on top), rice with vegetables and salad. The left over from the midnight dinner is then served again on Christmas day – unsurprisingly it tastes even better second time around! Many restaurants are now offering the traditional midnight dinner or lunch serving the traditional dishes.
A must for Christmas Day is to enjoy some rabanadas. Similar to a French toast, the rabanada is fried bread covered in cinnamon or syrup of honey, port and cinnamon. As early on as November, rabanadas can be found in some cafés, so if spotted make sure to have try it.
5. Nativity Scene
In every household, in various sizes or forms a nativity scene known as ‘Presépio’ is found. With a variety to buy, from tiny crystal ornaments or hand carved wooden pieces, a ‘Presépio’ is the perfect gift to bring for a friend or family member. We received ours from my grandmother many years ago and it continues to be a treasured gift.
Your edit for Latin American inspiration
Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.View Extraordinary Inspiration
Maggie Wilson - Travel Expert
Maggie visited Latin America on her first backpacking trip when she was 19. Since then, she has taken every opportunity to travel, and has managed to explore a lot of the region in subsequent trips.
Millie Davies - Travel Expert
Having caught the travel bug as a child, Millie has travelled all over Latin America before making her home in Buenos Aires for 3 years.
Alex Walker - Travel Expert
Sophie Barber - Travel Expert
Sophie lived in Chile before joining us and has travelled extensively across Latin America, from Mexico to the furthest tip of Patagonia and beyond to Antarctica.
Charlotte Daubeney - Travel Expert
Charlotte's fascination with Latin America began with a family holiday to Belize. She went on to study Spanish in school and at university before spending a year living in Santiago, Chile.
Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Expert
Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made Holidays and Group Tour sales team.