Christmas in Brazil: Christmas Trees and Nativity Scenes
Many Brazilians decorate their homes with a Christmas tree. In southern Brazil parents often take on the job of decorating the tree themselves. On Christmas Eve they lock themselves in the parlor until the tree has been studded with glowing candles and garlanded with ornaments, such as metallic balls, figurines, and poinsettia blossoms. The magical sight of the decorated tree delights the children when they are finally allowed to enter the room. In spite of the popularity of the Christmas tree, the Nativity scene remains the focus of home decoration and celebration in most of Brazil. Nativity scenes, or presépios, also appear in churches and town squares. Children usually participate in setting up the Nativity scene, adding toys, fruit, or foliage to the family’s collection of figurines. In the south families may wait until the day before Christmas to set up the Nativity scene. In other areas they may begin constructing the presépio in mid-December.