When considering Christmas customs in Brazil, you have to realize that it is a big country, with many very distinct regions. Food and customs are different by region. They are also different among the many ethnic groups, nationalities and religions that live in Brazil. But there seem to be three things that all regions have in common, perhaps excepting the Amazonian Indians.
Christmas presents are a must in Brazil. Everyone gives presents to as many people as they feel necessary. So right now, two weeks before Christmas, shopping is the big activity - in all parts of Brazil.
The second common custom is family visits. This is similar to the United States, except that here in the southern hemisphere summer vacation has just begun, so the visits can be prolonged. Many companies give collective holidays from the week before Christmas to the week after New Year's Day. City government also closes down for that period, and health posts are left with very few doctors, which is the down side of the custom. What a wonderful time to either visit or receive visitors! (But not a good time to get sick.)
The third common custom is food, but here it is restricted to the Christmas Eve supper. A hold-over from the Catholic midnight mass, all people seem to think that the Christmas Eve supper should happen after midnight, no matter what their religious beliefs. What happens then is that the whole night is taken up, first by the supper and then by night long visiting. The weather is warm, the doors and windows are open, and in many neighborhoods people are in and out of each others' homes all night.
In our congregation we try to have several Christmas services over a two week period, to give everyone a chance to worship the Savior at least one.
|Youth Group Practicing Christmas Musical|