New Year in Brazil is celebrated in the summer, in the high season for sea and beach holidays. They begin to prepare for the New Year in November, decorating the streets with lanterns, garlands, decorating Christmas trees. New Year and Christmas in many countries are considered family holidays, but in Brazil, everyone is trying to celebrate the holiday in noisy companies. The streets become bright and colorful, they turn white, but not because of the snow, which does not happen here. On New Year’s Eve, office workers throw papers out of windows, symbolizing the end of the working year. If you want to know more about Brazilian New Year traditions – then you are in the right place!
Modern New Year traditions
New Year in Brazil is considered a public holiday; people prefer to celebrate it with friends. In Brazil, there are no chimes that count down the minutes to the start of the New Year, so Brazilians count out the seconds. The New Year begins with a huge number of luxurious bright unforgettable fireworks. The whole sky is lit up with a spray of lights, creating a special atmosphere. The Brazilians have a belief – having eaten 12 grapes in the last seconds of the outgoing year and making a wish, the chances of its fulfillment are considered to be maximum.
If you are interested in how the New Year is celebrated in Brazil, you should know that it is greeted in white clothes. All decorations that are present on the street and indoors are most often preserved until February because at this time a carnival is held, decorations just come in handy. Not a single celebration is complete without pyrotechnics, and a cannon shot announces the beginning of the New Year.
Fireworks are launched from rafts. A New Year tree is floating in the sea. This is the tallest floating tree, it is bright, huge, and unique. The Christmas tree is usually installed on a raft near the sculpture of the Savior, which is a symbol of Brazil. Also, an airship flies over the city, which announces holiday greetings, and cascades of bright lights descend from the roofs of houses. Music sounds in the city squares until the morning, people dance and congratulate each other.
The intertwining of different cultures
New Year in Brazil is very unusual, a variety of cultures are combined here – European, African, Indian. Various rituals and traditions made the holiday extraordinary. Even the name that is considered official for the new year “Confraternização” translates as fraternization. Brazilians on this day are ready to forget all grievances, to call any neighbor a friend.
As in any Catholic country, Santa Claus and gifts are important only at Christmas, Santa Claus is called “Papai Noel”. Christmas for the inhabitants of the country is a more significant holiday than our beloved New Year. Children are looking forward to Christmas, but it is not acceptable to exchange gifts for the New Year.
To understand how the New Year is celebrated in Brazil, it is important to be imbued with unusual African traditions, they are closely related to the culture of the entire Brazilian people. Most of all, African traditions are noticeable on the coast, in Rio de Janeiro.
New Year’s rituals
According to tradition, the New Year for Brazilians is a great opportunity to mitigate all the consequences of the wrath of evil spirits. To appease the spirit of the ruler of the seas “Iemanzhe”, you need to make a sacrifice to her. This lady is identified with the Virgin Mary and every Brazilian must perform this ritual. A candle and flowers are most often used as “sacrifices”. The ritual itself is very beautiful and spectacular. Brazilians bring candles and white flowers to the coast and put them on a wooden stand. The candle is lit, a wish is made, and she sets sail on the seas. The longer the candle floats and does not die out, the more chances that the wish will come true. Some girls throw a wreath of white flowers, also making a wish, if it is nailed back to the shore, there is little chance of fulfilling the wish and it is better to repeat the ritual next year.
Celebrating the New Year in Brazil involves lighting bonfires on the shore, gifts are sent on rafts directly into the sea. Often, rice, sweets, fruits are sent to the sea on rafts, all this in order to appease the evil goddess and get a favorable attitude from her next year. There are legends that the goddess Iemanju is a beauty with long hair the color of the sea surface. She is very fond of dancing and fun, looks after her beauty, therefore, fragrant soap and mirrors are often poisoned to her as alms. Any offering is necessarily accompanied by fiery dances, special prayers passed down from generation to generation.