What Does Santa Say in Brazil?


What does Santa say in Brazilian Portuguese?

Turns out, he says “Ho! Ho! Ho!” too!

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, 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 US. We can say that Christmas is the most important holiday of the year here in Brazil.

The Celebration

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 the following day with their families to have lunch.

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations are also very present here in Brazil. Like in the US, the Christmas tree is where ‘Santa Claus’ puts gifts. Usually the trees are fake, and some of them even come up with fake snow to simulate trees from northern countries. Christmas lights are also used to decorate the houses and the most visited places of the cities, but I believe the proportion is lower than in the United States, where neighbors compete for the most enlightened and the most creative house decoration. Although the decorations are typically put up in November, way before that the trade is already selling several Christmas items and deals with all kinds of gifts. It’s the most profitable time of the year!

Secret Santa

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, everyone’s names are written on pieces of paper. Then, each person gets a piece of paper with the name of another person participating. Finally, they exchange gifts between them. 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. They are usually children 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 objects.

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!

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