Friday, December 26, 2008
Merry Christmas from Brazil....or in Portuguese, Feliz Natal! I pray you all had a wonderful Christmas. I wanted to share a little about Christmas in Brazil.
Christmas here in Brazil is not celebrated as much as in the U.S. Here it's more about some time off from work, getting together with either family or friends, and seeing how much you can eat and drink. Sad, I know. It seems the REAL meaning of Christmas has been lost here. But at least we can know the real meaning in our hearts, and not let the media or culture dictate what Christmas is all about to us.
Anyway, back to a Brazilian Christmas.....Santa here is called, "Papai Noel" or translated to "daddy Christmas". Even gifts here aren't that important. Families here only usually give JUST to their immediate family, and usually only 1 gift per person. (Which I tend to think is more than enough, but that's just me!) Christmas Eve celebrations start late in the evening....like 8:30 or 9PM, so that they can then celebrate Christmas at the stroke of midnight. So they either get together with friends or family, then eat late at night. When midnight strikes you go around to EVERYONE at the party, wishing each person individually, "Feliz Natal", and other blessings, along with the traditional hug and kiss on the cheek. (That's a Brazilian thing...you ALWAYS kiss people on the cheek when saying hello or good-bye.) The Christmas Eve celebration lasts well into the night, then people usually sleep in on Christmas morning and then get together with family or friends again later in the afternoon on Christmas Day.
Like I said before in an earlier post, not many people decorate much at all here either. Hardly anyone has a big Christmas tree in their house, but they may have a small one. But that's about it. I did see a few houses with a few lights up, but not many.
Our Chirstmas Eve was spent pretty quietly until the evening celebration. I made salmon for lunch, which was a bit special....since you don't get a lot of salmon here. We went to a family friends house to celebrate. Renato's family all went too, so we celebrated together. We got there about 8:45PM. (Just a side note, Camden's bedtime is 7PM....so it was a VERY late night for him...we finally put him down at 10:45. His eyes were sooo red! Poor little guy, but he had fun until he went to sleep!) We ate at about 10:30. The traditional meat for Christmas here is ham. There was lots of good food (which is always true in Brazil!), and it was displayed beautifully (which is also a Brazilian thing...the food always LOOKS fantastic!).
They had a "white elephant" type gift exchange, which was super funny. It was called "Amigo Secreto" or secret friend, and there were a lot of outrageous hats and cheap toys for all. :) When midnight struck, we kissed and hugged everyone....even the people you just met a few hours before. We stayed for until about 1:15 and headed home. I knew that even though Camden went to bed super late, he'd still wake up at about 7:30AM....and I was right!
I wanted our Christmas morning to be special and start a few new traditions. I decided that I'd make cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then we'd open gifts (only Camden had gifts), talk about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas, then just enjoy our morning.
I looked for a good recipe online for the cinnamon rolls and I found a TERRIFIC one! Oh my goodness....these were the BEST cinnamon rolls I've ever eaten. Camden also LOVED that he didn't have to eat his oatmeal/rice/fruit cereal that he eats everyday....he kept saying, "NUM, NUM!" after every bite of the cinnamon roll! I had to include a picture and the link for the recipe. You have to try these cinnamon rolls!!
Anyway, we had a good Christmas and pretty low-key. I know that it was special celebrating it in Brazil with Renato's family and that was nice. The weather wasn't even that hot, which was a huge blessing! I kinda liked the rainy Christmas day weather....better than hot and humid!