Sunday, December 20, 2009

Brazilian New Year's Traditions

Brazilians love New Year's Eve and New Year's Day - for many, this holiday period is as important a celebration as are Christmas and Carnaval, the other two major holidays in Brazil. New Year's Eve is usually called "Reveillon" in Brazil, borrowing the term from the French.

Reveillon is a time of celebration, both festive and religious or symbolic. Throughout the country, it is customary to wear only white on New Year's Eve, and the clothes must be new in honor of the new year. In some cities, Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza in particular, the evening includes not only private parties, but huge gatherings on the cities' beaches with fireworks displays at midnight, and free concerts with some of the most important music stars in the country. Rio's beaches are also the scene of an Afro-Brazilian religious ritual, in which white-clad women and men walk to the edge of the sea and there leave offerings for the goddess of the sea, Yemanjá.
At private parties, in homes and in social clubs, New Year's Eve's menu usually consists of a number of appetizers, or other finger food, rather than a full-course sit-down dinner. The symbolic beverage of choice, naturally, is champagne, but many prefer to drink beer, whiskey, or cocktails. The following post has a traditional New Year's recipe from Minas Gerais.

 New Year's parties in Brazil really only begin at midnight, with guests arriving up to the last minute, and continue well past dawn on January 01. For obvious reasons, therefore, New Year's Day itself is a day of rest and recovery, and is considerably quieter than the previous evening.


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