How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

We have separated some traditions that most Brazilians follow during this time of the year.

How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

In many countries over the world people celebrate New Year’s Eve, sometimes in a different day (normally because of the calendar in use) and according to their own traditions, but the fact is: starting a new year has something that fascinates us and deserves to be celebrated.

In Brazil, we have our own way to welcome the new year and the cycle that it starts.

The party is Brazilian, but the name is French

How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

It is very common in Brazil to call the New Year’s Eve just New Year (Ano-novo) or Réveillon, a French term that was used originally to refer to parties that went on overnight. During the 17th  century, French nobility has started using this expression to refer specifically to New Year’s Eve celebration, which has been adopted and used by us until now.

In a globalized and massified world, lots of traditions are shared between various nations. This is why some rituals can be seen in diverse countries, like watching a firework show, making a countdown and toasting. However, in this article let’s talk about some traditions more related to Brazilian culture and its historical relations.

The party is Brazilian, the name is French but the tradition is African

How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Relations between Brazil and Africa started after colonization, when Portugal brought to Brazil Africans to be slaved here, one of the most horrible and brutal chapters of our history.

On their hand, African people didn’t arrive on Brazilian soil alone: they brought with them their tradition, religion, culture, habits, way of life. Talking about African religions, two of them are popular in Brazil, Candomblé and Umbanda, and some rituals we do on New Year’s Eve are originated in them:

  • Wearing white clothes

Wearing white clothes on New Year’s Eve symbolizes the desire for peace and is the official outfit of our party. That means, if you are planning to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Brazil, you have to take white clothes with you. White is the color of Oxalá, an African divinity and the root of this tradition (each divinity has its own color);

  • Jumping seven waves

In Brazil, the summer starts on December 21st, so in New Year’s Eve the summer is in full swing and the equation is: sun + vacation = beach! Because of this, one of our favorite New Year’s Eve traditions is going to the beach and jumping seven (small) waves. We believe that doing this will bring us good luck in the year which is just beginning;

  • Oblation to Iemanjá

Iemanjá is the African divinity of the sea, she is a beautiful woman, dark-haired, in a long blue dress. To oblations to Iemanjá are given through the sea, her home, normally we offer roses and perfume, necklaces. This tradition is very welcome even by people who are Christian, but nowadays some practices are not good seen because of environmental worries.

Some curious rituals

How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

Some rituals we do are related to food, for example, do you want more money and abundance in the next year? So, you should eat lentils and don’t forget to hide a bill under your plate and to suspend your feet on eating (they can’t touch the floor!).

Do you want love? We recommend you wear pink underwear during New Year’s Eve. Do you want health? (After this year, who doesn’t?) Try green underwear and, of course, wish this at midnight December 31st.

Nothing worked for you in 2021 and you feel you cannot “open doors” in your life? Take 3 bay leaves, 3 basil leaves and 3 cinnamon barks. Boil them in 2 liters of water. Wait for the mixture to cool down a little bit and go shower normally. Then, take the mixture and empty it in your body always from the neck, the water will send all the bad luck thousand kilometers away.

Let’s speak Portuguese

Some useful phrases:

  1. Feliz ano-novo (Happy New Year)
  2. Tenha um próspero ano-novo (Have a prosperous New Year)
  3. Eu te desejo muita saúde, paz e prosperidade (I wish you much health, peace and prosperity)
  4. Um brinde ao novo ano (A toast to the new year)
  5. Um ano maravilhoso para você (A wonderful year for you)

What do you think about putting in the plans for next year to start speaking Portuguese? Discover our courses and carry out this project with us!

Nós do Brazilingo desejamos um ano novo maravilhoso para você!

How do Brazilians celebrate New Year’s Eve?

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