If you intend to welcome the new year in Brazil, or anywhere else in the world with Brazilian friends and family, you will be happy to learn about these Brazilian New Year’s traditions and superstitions.
Learning about the culture helps you connect at a deeper level with those you love. And if you are visiting Brazil for the first time, knowing this will help you see things with different eyes to get the most out of your trip.
You will, for instance, know that the picture above is not an accurate description of Brazilians celebrating the new year 😉
New Year’s Eve celebrations are major events in Brazil. In cities by the coast, such as Recife, Fortaleza, and Rio de Janeiro, thousands and thousands of people welcome the new year at the beach, where we celebrate with concerts and fireworks.
The New Year’s Eve party is called Reveillon in Brazil.
Rio de Janeiro has one of the most famous parties in the world, on the beach, with visitors from all over the world, many concerts, and a grand spectacle of fireworks.
After midnight, it is common for younger people to leave the family parties and go clubbing. The parties often end around at 6, 7 or 8 am. I miss those days 🙂
Brazilian New Year’s Eve Traditions and Superstitions
Brazilians follow several New Year’s Eve traditions and superstitions. Whether you believe in these superstitions or do it just for fun, you can’t go wrong learning more about the Brazilian culture.
Brazilians wear white on New Year’s Eve
Brazilians traditionally wear white on New Year’s Eve. This tradition was inherited from religions of African origin, such as Candomblé and Umbanda, which wear white in many rituals. White symbolizes peace and harmony.
Do you see now why the picture above very likely does not show Brazilians celebrating the new year?
Eat Lentils. Here’s why
Many people in Brazil believe that eating lentils with your New Year’s Eve dinner attracts money. Some say lentils should be the first thing you eat right after midnight. This tradition has Italian origins.
Jump 7 waves
If you welcome the new year at the beach, you should jump 7 waves. The tradition comes from Umbanda, an Afro-Brazilian religion. Why 7 and not 12 waves? One theory is that each wave represents an Orixá. Orixás are deities worshiped by Afro-Brazilian religions. Another theory believes the custom is linked to honoring Iemanjá, the mother of all Orixás and Goddess of the Sea. You don’t have to dive into the ocean to do that. All you need is to get your feet wet.
Choose the color of your underwear
We wear colored underwear to attract different blessings. Different colors represent different blessings. For instance, yellow is for money, pink is for love, red is for passion, green is for health, and orange is for professional success. Women may do this more often than men 😉
Eating pomegranate on New Year’s Eve is a great Brazilian tradition. It is believed that the pomegranate’s abundance of seeds is an analogy for abundance in your life. Some say that you have to eat the fruit and keep its seeds in your wallet to attract money all year round.
And don’t miss my Fruits You Must Try in Brazil blog post – it’s berry good! You will get to know very unique Brazilian fruits.
Did you already know about these Brazilian New Year’s Traditions and Superstitions? Do you know other traditions and superstitions? Let me know in the comments!
Learn New Year’s Eve Vocabulary in Portuguese
Now get your Christmas and New Year’s vocabulary sharp in Portuguese so you can party in style.
To use your new vocabulary correctly you need lots of practice. There’s only so much that apps, books, and videos can do for your Portuguese. You need to have real conversations with real people in order to take your fluency to the next level.
Street Smart Brazil offers online, live Portuguese lessons via video calls. Book a trial lesson with us to see how we can help you speak Portuguese with confidence.