Holiday Traditions of Sending Gifts to Brazil
The first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox
Gift delivery to Brazil or any country raises questions such as, 'What does one give for this occasion, and when does one send it?' The plethora of celebrations, holidays, and gift-giving traditions in every country just goes to show that no matter where you find yourself, gifts are always welcome. However, in each country there may be subtle and important variations in the way one gives gifts. It's important to be aware of the significance of holidays and gifts across a variety of cultures, so when it's time to honor a friend or family member from abroad, one sends a suitable and intended message. Sending the perfect gifts to Brazil can be a challenge if one isn't familiar with the holidays and how they're celebrated.
Dominated by exotic jungles, lined with gorgeous exotic beaches, and bustling with metropolitan, fun-loving cities, Brazil is unimaginably diverse and breath-taking. Given its rich, independent history and reputation for the best parties in the world, mouthwatering local delicacies, melting pot of cultures, and stunning natural vistas Brazil is representative of the phrase 'life's a beach.' Brazilians have fierce pride for their country and themselves; you can see their love for freedom and beauty in their colorful festivals and gorgeous, sprawling cities, and you can experience their generosity and ebullience in Brazil's welcoming atmosphere.
When the time comes to celebrate or repay Brazilian hospitality, it will be important to remember some guidelines for gift-giving etiquette. It is never a good idea to send scissors, cutlery, or sharp objects as gifts since these are typically symbols for the severing of a friendship or close bond. One should never give black or purple items as gifts, since these are considered colors of mourning; handkerchiefs should be avoided as well, since they are also associated with funerals. Finally, one should avoid overly personal gifts such as perfume or jewelry. When one is invited to a home for the first time it is customary to bring a Wine Gift or Tea-Coffee gifts; it is also a good idea to bring a gift for any small children in the home such as a Chocolate Gift or Sweets. Anytime you know a gift is appropriate, but are unsure what to send, Flowers, Wine Gifts, Gourmet Gifts, and Sweets are usually well-received.
In Brazil's business world, it is typically considered bad form to give a gift upon first meeting one's business associate; one should offer to pay for a meal first, and then use the time to gauge your associate's interests. This way, when the time comes to give a gift, it will have more meaning. One should also be modest in purchasing a gift for a business associate; Brazilians are sensitive to the cost of the gift, and an overly expensive one will smack of a bribe or cause embarrassment. No matter the occasion, however, one can hardly ever go wrong with a Gourmet Gift, Wine Gift, or Tea-Coffee Gift in the world of business.
It's no secret that Brazilians love to celebrate; their culture is a glorious mix of different people, religions, interests, and cuisines. They are highly generous and love to give as much as they love to receive. Regardless of the holiday - New Year's Day, Carnival, Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Christmas - you are welcome to celebrate with the people of Brazil and they will receive your Gourmet Gifts, Wine Gifts, Tea-Coffee Gifts, Flowers, and Fruit Baskets with joy. Brazilians are also great lovers of chocolate, and some holidays are more appropriate than others to send it; Chocolate Gifts and other Sweets are perfect for Valentine's Day and especially Easter. No matter what you send to Brazil, if it's heartfelt your passion and generosity are sure to be reciprocated.
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Most Celebrated National Holidays
44 days prior to Easter - Ash Wednesday/Carnival
(Quarta-feira de Cinzas/Carnaval)
Ash Wednesday/Carnival (Quarta-feira de Cinzas/Carnaval) - Date varies - 44 days prior to Easter
Carnival in Brazil is a world-renowned four-day festival that falls right before the Lenten holiday and merges with it at the end of the week. The enormous celebration originated in pagan customs that celebrated the arrival of spring, but when Christian culture became prevalent, it adopted the festival as an ideal way to let loose and have fun before the restrictions of Lent, which is a time when many Christians abstain from something they enjoy (usually a favorite food) in preparation for the remembrance of Jesus' crucifixion. Each city in Brazil has its own celebratory traditions including parades, social gatherings, dancing, masquerades, and feasts, but the festival is most famous for its compelling rumba and samba music and dance. The most elaborate parades during Carnival usually portray themed samba performances; the dancers wear elaborate, colorful costumes and use their dance to tell a tale. All the energetic celebrations are bound to make everyone hungry, and Carnival is also a time for great feasts; Brazil is a huge melting pot of many different cultures, so favorite dishes from many ethnicities are usually served along with regional favorites.
Friday prior to Easter - Good Friday
Good Friday (Sexta-feira Santa) - Date varies - Friday prior to Easter
Good Friday is traditionally a Christian holiday in Brazil; it is held on the Friday before Easter to commemorate the death of Jesus in anticipation of his resurrection three days later. Since it is also a national holiday, Good Friday is the start of a four-day weekend and falls during the Easter school holidays. Many people enjoy a short vacation around this time. Others take the opportunity to spend time with their family or friends.
The first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox - Easter
Easter (Pascoa) - Date varies - the first Sunday after the first full moon that follows the spring equinox
Easter in Brazil is one of the major holy festivals of the year; traditionally, during this time, Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus three days after his death. Since the date of the Christian holiday also corresponds to the timing of pagan rites that celebrate fertility and spring renewal, Easter eggs, games, feasting, and fun activities have all become a part of the festivities, even though the main celebrations take place in churches. In Brazil, Easter eggs are almost always made out of chocolate, and they come in many different sizes; on the evening before Easter, parents hide these delicious eggs for children to find the next day. This holiday celebrated with a wide range of customs, folklore, and traditional foods. Families often gather for great feasts, and it is appropriate to exchange gifts - often in the form of Easter baskets filled with eggs, sweets, and delicious treats - with friends and relatives.
Second Sunday in May - Mother's Day
(Dia das Maes)
Mother's Day (Dia das Maes) - Second Sunday in May.
Mother's day is celebrated all over the world to honor mothers, motherhood, and maternal figures. On this special day in Brazil, devoted children often make adorable gifts and cards for their mothers, serve them breakfast in bed, and give them the day off by helping with chores. Older children may celebrate by treating their mothers to a special brunch or dinner, and spouses make sure to honor their wives and the mothers of their children with affection and lavish gifts.
Second Sunday in August - Father's Day
(Dia dos Pais)
Father's Day (Dia dos Pais) - Second Sunday in August.
Father's day is celebrated to honor fathers, fatherhood, and paternal figures. On this special day in Brazil, devoted children offer up Dad-related gifts and home-made cards for their fathers, serve them breakfast in bed, and help with chores around the house. Adult children may celebrate by treating their fathers to a special brunch or dinner, and spouses make sure to honor their husbands and the fathers of their children with affection and endearing gifts.
December 25 - Christmas Day
Christmas Day (Natal) - December 25.
In Brazil, Christmas is a summer festival, and perhaps one of the most-anticipated celebrations both for people of the Christian faith as well as secular celebrants. The holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus, although the date originally corresponded to the Pagan holiday of Yule. These days, many people from a variety of faiths celebrate the spirit of peace, joy, and togetherness that Christmas connotes. Christmas activities in Brazil include decorating trees both indoors and outdoors, feasting, praying, and gift giving. Many people spend this holiday with family members, with whom they exchange gifts and cards. Many children wake up to find a boot filled with small gifts and chocolates on their bed or somewhere else in the house. The delivery of these gifts is attributed to a mythical figure called 'Santa Claus' who is said to live in Greenland and bring gifts to good children all over the world; it is also said that he changes his clothes when he reaches Brazil because it is so hot. Later in the day, people may attend special church services, even if they do not usually go to church. Nearly everyone prepares and eats a special meal consisting of ham, turkey, colored rice, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Families gather for caroling and folk dancing as well as to open their presents.
January 1 - New Year's Day
New Year's Day (Ano Novo) - January 1.
In Brazil, New Year's falls right in the middle of the hot summer; despite this, it's still one of the biggest parties of the year! Celebrations are held all over the country, the most famous one being at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro where people enjoy lavish fireworks displays. People dress all in white on New Year's Eve to encourage good luck and peace for the upcoming year. Once midnight has passed, and the New Year has arrived, many Brazilians make their way to the shore's edge where they jump over seven waves while throwing flowers into the sea and making a wish. It is rumored that doing this will bring good fortune and that the goddess who watches over the sea will also make their wishes come true. Celebrants often serve and indulge in a wide variety of foods and spirits and take the time to rest the following day.
June 12 - Valentine's Day
(Dia dos Namorados)
Valentine's Day (Dia dos Namorados) - June 12.
Unlike in other countries, Brazil celebrates Valentine's Day on June 12, which is really the day of the feast of St. Anthony of Padua because he is perceived as the patron of all who search for a loving companion. Other than this difference though, the celebration is much the same as it is in other places like the USA; people wish 'Happy Valentine's Day' to parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and any other special person in their lives. Though there are a variety of traditions associated with this celebration, the most popular ones involve expressing love to significant others with an exchange of gifts. Some of the most common Valentine's Day gifts are fresh flowers, chocolates, and cards.
April 21 - Tiradentes' Day
(Dia di Tiredentes)
Tiradentes' Day (Tiradentes) - April 21.
This day is celebrated to remember Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier (whose nickname was Tiradentes, which means 'tooth-puller' or 'dentist'). Tiradentes was a key member of the Inconfidencia Mineira, the Brazilian revolutionary movement, whose goal was to end subjection of the Brazilian people and gain independence from Portugal. Tiradentes' plans were discovered, and he was tried and publicly hanged; he has since been considered a Brazilian hero and martyr.
May 1 - Labor Day
(Dia do Trabalho)
Labor Day (Dia do Trabalho) - May 1.
Long before there was the television show 'Dirty Jobs' Brazilians were celebrating Labor Day, also known as May Day around the world, in order to honor the hard work and sacrifice of the Brazilian laborer, and to celebrate the success of the Labor movement. Workers celebrate with a day off from their jobs; many people gather together for cook-outs or other feasts; and still others use the time for visiting friends and relatives, playing or watching sports, and indulging in other hobbies or fun activities.
September 7 - Independence Day
(Dia da Independencia)
Independence Day (Dia da Independencia) - September 7.
Independence Day in Brazil is comparable to Independence Day in the USA; it is celebrated to commemorate the day in 1822 that Dom Pedro officially announced Brazil's independence from Portugal. Brazilian Independence Day is a big day for political awareness; there are military parades held in cities throughout the country, including the largest one at the Ministries Esplanade in the presence of the President of Brazil. Most Brazilians attend or participate in these parades fiercely displaying the flag of Brazil and proudly proclaiming their love for their country.
October 12 - Our Lady of Aparecida
(Nossa Senhora Aparecida)
Our Lady of Aparecida (Nossa Senhora Aparecida) - October 12.
The Lady of Aparecida is the patron saint of Brazil; she is equated with Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, and is said to have appeared before fisherman in 1717, after which time the fisherman were able to bring her headless statue out of the water and then were able to find her head. She is portrayed as a dark-skinned Mary-like figure in wood at Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. Her feast day is October 12 - the day she is said to have revealed herself - Brazilians celebrate her miraculous appearance by attending religious ceremonies and by visiting the statue recovered by the fishermen.
November 2 - All Souls Day
(Dia de Finados)
All Souls Day (Dia de Finados) - November 2.
This day is celebrated to commemorate the faithful who have passed; although it is primarily a Catholic holiday, some members of the Anglican and Protestant churches have adopted its celebration as well. The holiday is observed specifically for those of the faithful who, because of venial sins, have not yet achieved the vision of heaven. Prayers and ceremonies carried out by the living are said to help cleanse these souls and send them quickly to their respite in heaven. Brazilians have the day off on this day, and are just as likely to travel and visit friends and family as they are to attend religious rites. Some people visit cemeteries and decorate the grave sites of loved ones.