How Do They Celebrate Christmas in Brazil?

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The History of Christmas explains that Christmas is celebrated in Brazil with traditional food and traditions, such as secret friends, folk plays and nativities. For instance, the tradition of the secret friend or "amigo secreto" occurs among friends and family. Individuals pick out the name of another person, and they spend the weeks leading up to Christmas secretly exchanging letters and gifts.

The "Presepio" or nativity scene is another tradition in Brazil for celebrating Christmas. A nativity-scene featuring straw and a figurine of the baby Jesus is set up and displayed in homes. Brazilians also put together a play called "Los Pastores" or "The Shepherds," in which they re-enact the first Christmas. Some versions of the play feature a gypsy trying to kidnap Christ.

Brazil has its own version of Santa Claus called Papai Noel. He visits on Christmas Eve, leaving candy in children's shoes and gifts hidden in the houses.

People in Brazil celebrate Christmas with traditional food, such as turkey or ham, and cakes made out of cod. For those who cannot afford the luxury of turkey, chicken, rice and beans serve as a traditional Christmas dinner. Rabanada, a dish made out of bread soaked in milk, fried and dusted with cinnamon sugar, is a popular dessert for Christmas.