Introduced to us by the talented and kind hearted Ana Beatriz, founder of the children’s shoe brand Ananas Petit, Jordhana Maria Costa Gomes takes us to Brazil. Mother of two princesses and a prince, she describes how Christmas is celebrated in her family and country!
Can you share about your country’s Advent traditions?
In Brazil, during the Christmas season, especially in December, we have the traditions of decorating the house, wearing red clothes and writing letters to Santa Claus.
Children ask for gifts from Santa Claus through letters and are warned by adults that they need to be well behaved throughout the year to be worthy of their presents. So, before they ask for what they really want, they write several lines explaining and proving that they were polite, obedient and studious during the year. On Christmas Eve or the following day, the gifts are placed at the base of the tree and they are told that Santa Claus has granted all of their wishes.
Can you describe your typical Christmas and traditions?
In Brazil we have the tradition of spending Christmas as a family. The biggest celebration takes place on the night of the 24th to the 25th, when almost all families have what we call “supper”. It’s a very big meal with typical dishes and gift exchanges. On the 25th, the family meets again to eat the “leftovers'' from the previous night.
We also have a very interesting custom called the “hidden friend”. Instead of buying a gift for each member of the family, we draw names a few days before meeting and buy a special gift just for the person drawn. We cannot reveal to anyone who the person we drew was until we delivery the gift.
When we meet, we take turns to make each one guess whom we made a gift for. We like using riddles describing the person's characteristics. Generally, this brings a lot of emotion, good feelings and declarations of friendship and love; in addition to gratitude and affection! It's great to choose the gift : to think about the specificities of the person and what we like about them. Even better when we get it right and she is more than moved and satisfied with our choice. This game creates a lot of tender memories.
Do you have typical decors?
Yes. We love christmas trees; Santa Claus figures, stockings above the fireplaces and snowman figures. Brazilians, due to the predominance of Catholicism, also love to build nativity scenes.
What is your traditional Christmas meal like?
We usually eat turkey or chester (poultry roast), cod, farofa (Brazilian specialty made with flour, eggs, bacon and whatever else your imagination can think of), Panettone and various desserts with candied fruits and walnuts, almonds etc. In addition to fresh fruits such as grapes, cherries and plums.
Here you can see a child eating a traditional Panettone. It's a sweet dough bread studded with candied fruits and raisins.
Do you have a special Christmas tradition of your own?
In my family, we love to go to the shopping malls and public squares to take pictures of the Christmas decorations. We like to sleep in the same typical pajamas and we love watching Christmas movies eating cookies and drinking milk. We always leave a little of these cookies on the fireplace so that when Santa Claus comes to drop off presents at our house, he can also have a snack. For his reindeer, we chop carrots.
We always have dinner and lunch together! And, before dinner, we are all going to the church to attend Mass to thank and celebrate the birth of baby Jesus.
Behind the article
Thank you to Ana Beatriz for introducing us to the Costa Gomes family.
Ana Beatriz is at the head of Ananas Petit, an ethical shoe brand combining Brazilian design, ingenuity and skill with British determination. More than a beautiful pair of shoes for your little ones, there’s real love behind it! For each purchase made, the brand donates shoes to a child in need.
Follow the brand on Instagram @ananaspetit
Thank you to Elloah Rezende for the beautiful pictures.
Follow the photographer on Instagram : @elloahrezende
To learn more about Jordhana Maria Costa Gome follow her Instagram account @jordhana