Apart from the heat, which punishes north to south of Brazil in this time of the year, and making Christmas decoration copied from the Nordic countries (with a pine sprinkled with artificial snow) look strange in these tropical surroundings, the five items below are essential to the so-called traditional Brazilian Christmas.

You can find one everywhere, with his red suit and white beard, fully dressed up – even in scorching heat. In Brazil, Santa arrives on the night of 24th December to deliver the presents – by car, truck or even helicopter.

Traditional food of the Christmas season, the Italian panettone, comes from Milan (northern Italy) and can be described as sweet bread with a slight fragrance of vanilla and dried fruit filling (such as apricot, orange, lemon and so on). Obviously over the years the traditional panettone has changed and gained special versions, thanks to Brazilian creativity. Nowadays the most famous one is the Chocotone: instead of the dried fruit filling you have chocolate, of course.

The traditional American turkey also suffered an adaptation. In the early 80s, the Brazilian company Perdigão imported this chicken breed from the U.S. for the first time. Its consisting in 70% of breasts and thighs was successful and today the “Chester” is present on most Christmas tables, along with Panetone.

It is a Christian tradition that refers to the birth of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem, in the company of Joseph and Mary. This Nativity scene is usually mounted along with the Christmas tree. Originally brought to Brazil by European immigrants, it was adapted by Brazilians and so got Indians, Africans, Mestizos, Brazilian fauna and flora and elements of African-American mythology as well as materials made in Brazil.

Typical for cold countries, the pine tree is also present in the Brazilian Christmas. Its decoration is also largely imported, but over the years, it has acquired contemporary influences and became increasingly unique. Many people, who like to keep the tradition, use the same ornaments year after year, passing it from generation to generation.

And what about you? What would a Top 5 List of your country’s Christmas essentials look like?

Brazilian version for John Lennon´s Happy Christmas


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