Christmas in Brazil – Portuguese Basic Tips

Tips of portuguese vocabulary on Christmas in Brazil

Christmas crib

Hello there and welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips in which we are going to speak about Christmas in Brazil

On today’s podcast, we are going to go over Christmas in Brazil. I’ll speak a little bit of this country and try to explain to you about some terms we use in December.

Visit our last episode about Portuguese ordinal numbers

Brazil is a country where the vast majority of people are Christian. As I have said in other episodes – much of the cultural basis that this country has was influenced by the Catholic Church along centuries. Nowadays there are too many people who follow Protestant philosophy and others too.  When I say this, I don’t mean that all Brazilians go to church so often. What I really mean is that, in a general way, our culture is based on those values.

You will find many people calling themselves “não praticantes” – This is a person who grew up in Catholic philosophy, but who doesn’t attend church nowadays.

But December is a different month for us! When December is coming, Brazil’s atmosphere changes.

As you may know, Brazil has been through a serious political and economic crisis in the last months, but this doesn’t stop people from buying what we call “lembrancinhas” to present their friends.

Lembrancinha – actually means “souvenir”, but we could literally translate that as “little memories” – I like this term.

For example:

  • Eu estava passeando e me lembrei de você
  • I was walking around and I remembered you

Because of that, I bought this “lembrancinha” for you – specially for you!

Well, in Brazil we call Santa Claus “Papai Noel” (Daddy Noel), who arrives with his sleigh (trenó), pulled by his reindeers (renas) and distributes gifts to children.

We also have a tradition of making hearty suppers (ceias fartas) with Christmas turkeys (perus de natal) and other goodies (guloseimas).

It is in December that we often wish people “um feliz natal e um próspero ano novo” – “a merry Christmas and a happy new year”


The curious thing is that the word (prosperidade) prosperity is not very much used in our vocabulary throughout the year, but in December this is different!

And I hope, my friend, that you carry with you – throughout all days of your life – the feeling of December in your heart.

Que você tenha um feliz natal e um próspero ano novo!

For you and for your Family, friends, non-friends – whatever. Merry Christmas and a próspera vida nova, todos os dias!

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Click on th link to learn about Christmas around the world

See you next year!


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