Spending the holidays in Brazil
Spending the holidays in Brazil
If Brazil is so popular in the world at the end of the year, it is certainly in great part for its climate ! Isn’t it nice to spend your vacation in the warmth of 20 degrees at 8 o’clock in the morning on the coast of Rio de Janeiro ?
But to limit oneself to the temperatures and very reductive ! Brazil, which is almost a country-continent, is full of traditions resulting from a great mixing of cultures for several hundred years. It would be necessary to spend months, even years there to complete all the itineraries in Brazil. In 1 month, I could only visit Rio, Sao Paulo, the Chapada Diamantina and a small part of the Pantanal.
Swimming in Rio de Janeiro on New Year’s Day
This is probably the most famous tradition in the world ! First because enjoying the sea in the middle of the night is not possible in every country in the world without freezing to death, then because the setting is magical. Brazilians go to the beach, accompanied by many tourists, dress in white, enjoy the beautiful fireworks and take a swim.
But not just any bathing ! For the magic to work, you have to jump 7 waves and make a wish at each wave. Some will even jump on one foot alternately.
If this tradition is so important and known, it is because Rio is a major destination for tourists from around the world. But also because the end of the year celebrations stick with a period of vacations in Brazil. Many Brazilians go to the beach and enjoy the local traditions.
And you ? Have you ever jumped a few waves in Brazil, all dressed in white ?
Gourmet cuisine at the end of the year in Brazil
Just as in France we can have typical dishes for the end of the year celebrations (foie gras, oysters, capon, turkey, snails, etc.;.), Brazil also knows how to mark the occasion with elaborate dishes. During a trip to Brazil, I realized the great culinary wealth of the country: salgados, typical dishes, churrasco, rodizio !
Salty: poultry, or not !
As a result, Christmas and New Year’s Day even carry some traditions completely linked to food !
The typical Christmas dishes are Peru de Natal (Christmas turkey), the lombo de porco assado (oven-roasted pork loin), and even special Christmas rice: Arroz de Natal.
The New Year’s Day is marked by a very original tradition: we don’t eat poultry because these animals can walk backwards ! As a result, fish and pork are favorite dishes on New Year’s Day ! It is necessary to favor the animals that go forward, it brings luck. Just like lentils by the way. You will find this legume quite widely in the dishes because it brings luck.
Sweet: Panetone, Bolos and Pavés !
For sweetness, which Brazilians love, we find the Panetone strangely ! This dish originated in Italy and has made its way to South America and has quite a reputation. With the geographical proximity of France and Italy, it is easy to understand why it is commonplace in our country at the end of the year. But in Brazil, admit that it is original.
To stay local” the end of year celebrations are the occasion for cooks of all horizons to show their talents on the side of the cakes (bolos) and cobblestones. Pineapple, coconut, chocolate, banana, any fruit can be used to make a good cake. There are often a lot of dyes to make the creams and various decorative patterns.
This is for the bolos (pronounced bOlos !).
The cobblestone is another culinary tradition of Brazil which is a cake made of sponge cake and cream. It could be similar to a tiramisu but with more leaked flavors: apricot, peach.
And what do you drink with all this ?
Champagne or not Champagne ?
During these festivities, you will often hear the word “champagne”. But it is actually sparkling wine, because the champagne is horribly expensive there ! Even if everyone says “Champagne !” at the table, at the aperitif, join the movement in a festive spirit.
Children are allowed to drink cider. Not as strong as wine (and probably often better), it’s a smile-inducing tradition as long as it isn’t abused 🙂
One last tradition for the road
You just have to go to Brazil to check that I didn’t tell you any crack. I promise I have good sources: experience, and Brazilians nearby to complete when needed !
But the most difficult tradition to verify is this one: on New Year’s Day, Brazilians like to wear colorful underwear. Depending on the color chosen, luck is supposed to be better for the coming year on the chosen theme ! And here is a small list:
- Green: hope, or hope !
- White: peace (inside) ?)
- Blue: health, especially after the excesses…
- Pink: of Love
- Yellow: because money is important
- Red: the color of passion and sex
- Purple: to ask for change in your life
- Orange: abundance (can we mix with Red and Yellow ?)
- Black: mystery !
As I said, difficult to check 😉
And for those who extend their vacations in Brazil on the beginning of February, it is the golden opportunity to live the Rio Carnival ! In 2018, the famous carnival kicks off on February 9 for a week of festivities.
If you already know, nothing prevents you from finding another trip, the world is big enough to have fun all year round !