With our constant parade of commercials, presents, and decorations, it's easy for those in America, Canada, and the UK to forget that Christmas is celebrated around the globe. Different parts of the world celebrate the holiday differently, and their traditions are sometimes different enough to surprise you. Brazil is a great example of this - its Christmas traditions are incredibly similar to Western Europe and America, but with a few little differences that make it unique. If you're curious about how to celebrate a Brazilian Christmas, looking at some of the main ways they celebrate can give you a good idea - and show you that some things just aren't that different from country to country.
First, Christmas in Brazil takes place during their summertime season. You won't see any snowmen or a bundled-up Santa here - it's generally very warm during the holiday.
Santa is known as Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man), or Papai Noel (Father Noel). He wears a silk suit here to keep himself cool and comfortable during the heat.
Similar to Christmas stockings, Brazilian children leave a sock near the window of their home. If Papai Noel finds the sock, he swaps it out for a present.
Just like other countries, Brazilians set up 'presepios' during the season. These are nativity seasons - presepium' means 'bed of straw' like the once Jesus slept in. They also string up lights and set up Christmas trees.
Brazil often goes big with its trees, creating 'electric trees'. These are massive Christmas trees made of nothing but electric lights, and major cities set them up as part of the seasonal celebrations. In fact, Rio de Janiero has the largest tree in the world - it weighs 542 tons and is made of 3.3 million light bulbs.
Along with these huge electric trees, Brazilian cities have recently begun launching impressive fireworks displays to celebrate the holiday.
Brazilians go caroling regularly as well, and it's even more popular than in America.
As for food, most Christmas dinners are held on Christmas Eve and will often include roasted turkey, vegetables, ham, colored rice, beer, and wine. 9 pm is one of the most traditional starting times of the Christmas Eve feast, though in some places the feast is held at midnight.
The country is made up of millions of Catholics, and they attend midnight mass on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day. As for December 25th, most churches are fairly empty - masses are held in the late afternoon after the people have finished celebrating.
Brazil also celebrates Three Kings Day. Folk dancing, singing, and other festivities for the season continue after Christmas day and end on January 6th - supposedly the day that the three wise men visited Jesus.
As you can see, you may already be celebrating the season in a similar manner to Brazilians. Aside from the hotter weather and lack of snow, the country's Christmases are very similar to those around the globe - and just like everywhere else, there is a major focus on love, togetherness, and the true spirit of the season.