Different Countries, Different Traditions

Traditions may vary, but holidays meaning remains the same

Maria Miranda, Staff Writer

The holidays are celebrated in many ways in different countries. I was lucky enough to celebrate Christmas and New Years Eve on the US for the first time in 2014. I noticed that brazilians and americans have different traditions in the way that they spend the holidays, but the meaning still the same no matter where you are.
In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the city where I’m from, there is a huge floating Christmas Tree that is fully decorated with lights that changes every minute, making the tree have different patterns. A lot of tourists go there every year to contemplate this tree, take pictures and go inside boats that take you to the middle of the pond where the giant Christmas Tree is located, so the people are able to get closer to it and have an amazing experience.
This year I spend Christmas and New Years Eve with my host family, and they showed me all of the american traditions. I already knew some of them, because they are very similar to the brazilian traditions, like having a Christmas tree, exchanging presents, having dinner and spending some time with your family and filling the Christmas Stockings with small presents. It was very fun to get the chance to experience the american traditions with a different family and in a different place
On Christmas day, unlike the U.S., our presents are opened after dinner that happens on the night of Christmas Eve. Every kid stays up until midnight to open the presents that Papa Noel bought for them. Around Christmas time, friends normally exchange presents through secret santa. .
On New Years Eve, all families spend the night together at a dinner. At midnight, there is a firework show on the famous beach of “Copacabana,” which attracts millions of tourists every year. It is very common to see everybody wearing white on New Years Eve night because there’s a tradition that says that wearing white on New Year’s Eve will bring peace to your next year. Women also have another clothing tradition on New Years Eve, they wear determined colors of underwear or dresses, because each color has a meaning for next year. Yellow means prosperity and optimism, red means love and passion, blue means wealth and tranquility, green means hope and harmony and white means peace and purification.
For me the meaning of Christmas is a moment of fraternization with your family and to be grateful for everything that you have. This was as true in Brazil as it is here in America. I have found that we have more in common than many people think.