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New Year’s Eve in Brazil

fireworks at Copacabana Beach for New Year's Eve in Brazil

As the clock ticks down to midnight on December 31st, people around the world eagerly anticipate the arrival of the New Year, each culture bringing its unique traditions and customs to the festivities. In Brazil, New Year’s Eve is a vibrant and lively celebration, marked by a fusion of cultural influences that make it truly one-of-a-kind. Let’s take a look at some of the quintessential traditions of New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Maybe you’ll adopt one or two for your own celebration! 

How Brazilians Ring in the New Year

New Year’s is called Reveillon in Brazil. The word comes from the word “reveiller” in French, which means “to waken.” It describes a feast held until morning. 

There are a few key traditions associated with New Year’s Eve in Brazil, all designed to encourage prosperity and peace over the next 365 days:

Wearing White

Many of the New Year’s Eve traditions in Brazil are derived from the Afro-Brazilian religions of Candomble and Umbanda. Candomble incorporates aspects of many of the religions of West Africa, which is where a majority of Brazilian slaves came from. Meanwhile, Umbanda is a medley of Afro-Brazilian and certain Roman Catholic traditions. 

One of the Afro-Brazilian traditions adopted for New Year’s is dressing in white from head to toe. In Candomble and Umbanda, the color white symbolizes purity, peace, and renewal. Remember that Brazilians do not merely say “Happy New Year” on New Year’s Eve. They say, “New Year, New Life.” Wearing white symbolizes this expression. 

Offerings to Yemanjá

Along the coast, particularly in Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, worshippers and revelers alike participate in the traditional offering of white flowers, soaps, necklaces, hair combs, and other small trinkets to Yemanja. Yemanja, also spelled Lemanja, is the Candomble and Umbanda goddess of the sea. The items are placed in small boats and gently pushed out to sea. In return for their offerings, Brazilians request protection and good luck for the year.  

Feasting on Lentils and Pomegranates

New Year’s Eve in Brazil also involves the consumption of pomegranates and lentils. The way you eat the pomegranate is important: you eat the flesh but save the seeds. You then wrap seven of the seeds in paper and put them in your wallet to attract wealth. (Don’t worry, they don’t have to stay there all year–just until January 6.)

Meanwhile, lentils are a popular meal at family gatherings for New Year’s Eve in Brazil. Lentilha da sorte, a stew of lentils, veggies, and pork sausage, is a particular favorite. Like the pomegranate, there are rules for making the most out of your lentils at New Year’s:  stand on a chair, table, or other high place and take seven even bites of lentils to attract luck and prosperity in the coming year. 

Fireworks and Street Parties

New Year’s Eve in Brazil is renowned for its spectacular fireworks displays and lively street parties. Major cities like Rio de Janeiro host enormous gatherings, with music, dancing, and a contagious energy that fills the air. The iconic Copacabana Beach in Rio is a focal point for millions of revelers, as they gather to witness breathtaking fireworks and take part in the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world

Jumping Over Seven Waves

Another tradition for New Year’s Eve in Brazil involves jumping over seven waves at midnight, making wishes with each leap. Even non-coastal citizens travel hours to the sea so they can complete this ritual. The number seven holds special significance in Afro Brazilian culture. In this case, successfully leaping over seven successive waves means you will overcome obstacles in the New Year.

Wearing Colorful Undergarments

While many Brazilians choose to wear white clothing on the outside, under the clothing is a different story. Most are wearing brightly colored undergarments, the color carefully selected to represent individual desires. Yellow, for example, symbolizes money and success; red can ignite passion and love, and orange may stimulate creativity.

Bay Leaves for Wealth

If pomegranate seeds aren’t your thing, you can also put a bay leaf in your wallet with some cash. Unlike the seeds, however, you must leave the bay leaf in the wallet for the whole year, then donate the money to charity on December 31. The bay leaf must then be discarded in a running water source, like a stream or the ocean. 

Easy New Year’s Eve Dinner 

Brazilian New Year’s Eve celebrations are a captivating blend of cultural diversity, spirituality, and exuberance. The customs and traditions reflect the nation’s rich history and the resilience of its people. Among other traditions, good food is a part of any Brazilian celebration. 

Make it easy on yourself this year and pre-order Texas de Brazil’s Beef Ribs Holiday Feast for your New Year’s Eve Celebration. This ready-to-eat kit feeds up to eight people. Tender, fall-of-the-bone ribs are accompanied with your choice of two sides, like our garlic mashed potatoes or feijoada black beans with crispy farofa topping. You’ll also receive a dozen Brazilian cheese bread rolls and a side of chimichurri for the ribs. Make sure you get your order in today before we sell out! 


Easy Side Dishes for Ham

sliced ham

While turkey continues to be the favored holiday dinner protein, many Americans also choose ham as their main dish. In fact, around 318 million pounds of ham was eaten for Christmas in 2022. These days, ham is more expensive than many other meats, thanks to rising labor and food production costs. You may be looking to offset your pricey porcine with a few easy and pocket-friendly accompaniments. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few ideas for easy side dishes for ham that are fast, cheap, but still delicious.  

Quick Side Dishes for Ham Dinner

Brazilian Cheese Bread

a basket of Brazilian cheese bread

First on the list of our easy side dishes for ham: Brazilian cheese bread. Instead of the traditional yeast roll, why not try your hand at some gooey, cheesy pao de queijo? Made from tapioca starch, these bite-sized morsels are nutty, chewy, and absolutely addictive. Bonus: they are completely gluten free and made with ingredients you likely already have on hand (aside from the tapioca flour). Try stuffing them with sausage if you really want to wow your guests. 

Spicy Cranberry Sauce

cranberries in a white serviing bowl

Our recipe for boozy cranberry sauce with a little heat revs up this traditional holiday favorite. We use vanilla, cinnamon, clove, and a big pinch of cayenne pepper to cut through the sweetness of the dish, adding a healthy splash of aged cachaca for even more flavor. The cachaca is by far the priciest part of this recipe; you can replace it with water or a little rum, if you already have that on hand. 

Couve Mineira (Brazilian Collard Greens)

Brazilian finely sliced collards with bacon

You may not think of collard greens when you are in the market for “easy” ham side dishes. That is because traditional Southern recipes often take hours to stew the greens until they are tender. Brazilian collards cook up quickly since they are sliced into uber-thin strips and sauteed in oil. Add a little garlic, onion, and bacon, and you have a delicious accompaniment for your holiday ham. 

Brazilian Rice

Brazilian long grain rice with mint garnish

Next up on our list of easy side dishes for ham: rice. No holiday meal in Brazil (or any meal, really) is complete without the ubiquitous arroz Brasileiro: basmati rice toasted in oil then slow-simmered with refogado, a puree of garlic and onions. If you don’t have the refogado mix, don’t worry about it: finely minced garlic and onions will work just as well. The only thing left is olive oil and white rice–doesn’t get much cheaper than that!

Steakhouse Garlic Mashed Potatoes

a bowl of garlic mashed potatoes

If you’d rather stick with potatoes for your starch fix, we totally understand. Mashed potatoes are a classic and easy side dish for ham for a reason: they are inexpensive, filling, and so delicious. They are basically comfort food at its finest. You simply can’t go wrong by punching up the flavor with a little (or a lot) of garlic, like we do in our steakhouse inspired mashed potato recipe

Burgundy Mushrooms

burgundy mushrooms in a black castiron skillet

Here’s another cheap and easy side dish for ham this holiday. Our take on Burgundy mushrooms slowly simmers them in red wine, stock, garlic, Dijon mustard, and fresh herbs. The sauce alone is delicious, especially spooned over those garlic mashed potatoes we mentioned. 

Caramelized Leeks

braised leeks in a pan

Leeks don’t often make it to the holiday table as a stand-alone side dish, and we think that’s rather tragic. When prepared with the right ingredients, they become buttery, caramelized, and absolutely delicious. In our braised leeks recipe, we take the sweetness up a notch with a balsamic reduction. Heap some on top of your slice of ham so you can have some with every bite. 

Christmas Dinner Catered

If all else fails, you can always host the perfect holiday meal with Texas de Brazil’s takeout options. Right now, you can pre-order our Beef Ribs Holiday Feast: fall-of-the-bone ribs served with your choice of two side dishes, a mess of Brazilian cheese bread, and zesty chimichurri sauce for dipping. The kit feeds 6-8 people and comes hot and ready to eat. Order yours for pick up on 12/24, 12/25, and 12/31 between the hours of 1pm and 5pm. 

Spiked Eggnog (Licor de Ovos)

two glasses of eggnog garnished with cinnamon sticks

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Ah, eggnog: you either love it or you hate it. It is sweet, spiced, creamy, and, well, eggy. For many, the holiday season isn’t complete without a chilled glass of this unusual concoction. We certainly don’t mind a sip or two, especially when spiked with aged cachaca. Keep reading for a little eggnog trivia and our spiked eggnog recipe (or just jump to the recipe, you won’t hurt our feelings). 

Where Does Eggnog Come From?

Most historians agree that the roots of eggnog can be traced back to medieval Britain, where a beverage known as “posset” was popular. Posset was made with milk curdled with wine or beer and often flavored with spices. It was meant to be drunk hot and often used as a treatment for cold and flu. 

Eggs and egg yolks were incorporated into posset by at least the 13th century. Monks were known to consume a version that included both eggs, wine, and figs. The wealthy elite adopted this custom and added a bit of sherry, which was more expensive at the time. Posset soon became a symbol of good health and prosperity. 

Posset was not called “eggnog” until the 17th century, when the drink made its way to the American Colonies. Sherry and wine were exchanged for rum, which was plentiful and cheap. Heaps of sugar were also added to the already-rich drink. George Washington himself had a recipe for eggnog that called for “one dozen tablespoons of sugar.” That might explain the unfortunate teeth situation. The first president’s recipe also had rum, rye whiskey, and sherry. Small wonder he forgot to specify how many eggs to use. 

Why is Eggnog Called Eggnog?

The egg part is obvious, but where did the “nog” come from in eggnog? We’ll never know for sure, but many historians posit (that’s a pun) that the term comes from “noggin,” a Gaelic word for a wooden cup. 

Why Do We Drink Eggnog at Christmas?

From its early iterations as posset to the time it was drunk in the colonies, eggnog ingredients were considered a luxury. It was thought that toasting a beverage with expensive eggs, cream, sugar, alcohol, and spices would usher in prosperity for the new year. Eggnog is also high in calories, which may have been beneficial to those with otherwise meager holiday rations. 

Today, eggnog is less about prosperity and more about festivity. We tend to give ourselves a pass at Christmas to indulge a bit, and eggnog fits the bill: it is creamy, decadent, and a little bit naughty with all those calories. 

Do Brazilians Drink Eggnog?

Yes! Eggnog is called “licor de ovos” in Brazil and is made in much the same way as American eggnog. The main difference is the liquor. Brazilians, of course, use cachaca in their eggnog in place of rum. Nutmeg is also not typically used in licor de ovo, which is flavored with pure vanilla extract instead. 

Licor de ovo is especially popular in Minas Gerais and other southern regions of Brazil, where it can get quite chilly in the Autumn and Winter months. This means it is not necessarily consumed as a holiday beverage, since Brazilian autumn begins in March. 

What is In Eggnog?

Eggs: the star ingredient, eggs provide the rich and velvety texture to eggnog. Raw eggs were historically used, but most modern recipes heat the eggs to a safe temperature before chilling.

Dairy: whole milk and heavy cream contribute to the luscious creaminess of eggnog. Some recipes may use a combination of milk and cream to balance the richness.

Sweeteners: sugar is a crucial component to sweeten the eggnog, providing a counterbalance to the richness of the eggs and dairy. Some variations might also include sweetened condensed milk or even maple syrup.

Flavorings: nutmeg is the traditional spice that gives eggnog its distinctive flavor. Other spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves may also be added for complexity.

Spirits: the addition of alcoholic spirits, such as rum, cachaca, brandy, whiskey, or bourbon, is optional but adds warmth and depth to the flavor profile. Non-alcoholic versions are also popular, ensuring that everyone can enjoy this festive beverage.

What Does Eggnog Taste Like?

Eggnog is a harmonious blend of sweet, creamy, and warmly spiced flavors. The texture is velvety and thick, almost syrupy but not sticky. It is not dissimilar to a glass of melted ice cream spiced heavily with nutmeg, which gives it a distinctly peppery flavor. 

Homemade Eggnog Recipe (Licor de Ovos)


6 egg yolks
½  cup white sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 oz aged cachaca or spiced rum


  1. Whisk together the egg yolks, then add the sugar and mix until light and frothy. 
  2. Heat the milk, cream, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan over medium high heat.
  3. Temper the egg mixture: when the cream mixture reaches a simmer, add about 2 tablespoons to the egg mixture and stir to combine. Repeat this process until most of the cream mixture has been added to the egg mixture, then return everything to the saucepan.
  4. Whisk constantly over medium high heat for a few more minutes. Check the temperature with a thermometer: it should be 160 degrees fahrenheit or higher. 
  5. Remove the mixture from the heat and add your vanilla extract and cachaca. 
  6. Chill thoroughly, then serve in glass cups with a cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg. 

Spend the Holidays with Us

Texas de Brazil is a unique and delicious fine dining destination during the holidays and all year round. Visit one of our 50+ locations this year to treat  your loved ones to a truly special meal. Also, be sure to take advantage of our current Texas de Brazil gift card deals–perfect to add to a stocking or a christmas gift basket. 


Honeynut Squash Recipe

A bowl of bright orange honeynut squash soup on a white plate.

Creamy Honeynut Squash Soup (Sopa de abobara)

Honeynut squash are some of the lesser known winter squashes, but we are here to change that! As their name suggests, they are exceptionally sweet, and their skin has a beautiful amber hue. Unsurprisingly, they lend themselves to a number of recipes, savory and sweet. Today’s honeynut squash recipe is for a spicy, creamy soup: perfect for a cold winter evening. 

Honeynut Squash vs Butternut Squash

Honeynut squash are actually a hybrid between butternut squash and buttercup squash. They were an experiment by a professor at Cornell University in the 1980s, and cultivars didn’t appear in US markets until 2015. 

Honeynut squash have the appearance of mini butternut squash but with a deeper orange color (they have about three times the level of beta carotene). They are also sweeter than either a butternut squash or a buttercup squash, and their thin skin is edible. 

The average-sized honeynut squash is about 4 inches long and between 2.5 and 4 inches wide, so you need more of them for a recipe than larger varieties of winter squash. 

a stack of green buttercup squash a stack of butternut squasha stack of orange honeynut squash

Buttercup squash (top) plus butternut squash (center) equals honeynut squash (bottom).

Honeynut Squash in Brazilian Recipes

Pumpkin dishes are quite prevalent in Brazil, especially since they can be grown year round. Quibebe, for example, is a savory pumpkin stew that slow-simmers big bites of butternut squash. And Christmas tables in Brazil are often adorned with a beautiful camarao na moranga: a roasted cinderella pumpkin stuffed with a creamy shrimp soup.

Again, honeynut squash are not particularly well-known. Most Brazilian recipes call for either butternut squash or the moranga (which we know in the US as a Cinderella pumpkin or pink pumpkin) or the abobora, which is butternut squash. While there is no substituting the moranga for your stuffed shrimp recipe, you can easily use the honeynut squash in place of butternut squash in most recipes. You will just need more of them.

Where to Buy Honeynut Squash

There are a few large grocery chains that carry honeynut squash this time of year. You can find them at Costco, Wholefoods, and Trader Joes. They are also often found at farmer’s markets, but it’s a little late in the year for those. 

You could also try growing your own honeynut squash from seeds! The process is much the same as any other winter squash: plant them indoors in March, then harden them off outdoors after the last frost. Transplant seedlings to soil in May. You can also directly sow the seeds in May and June as well. 

How to Cook Honeynut Squash

Like other winter squash, honeynut squash can be roasted, stewed, boiled, sauteed, and pureed. For this soup recipe, we highly recommend roasting the squash. It is very easy to do and it truly brings out the sweet nuttiness of the squash. 

To roast honeynut squash, remove the stems at the top of each gourd. Then cut each squash lengthways in half. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits in the middle with a metal spoon. Put each squash skin-side up on a lined baking tray. Roast them at 425 degrees fahrenheit for around 30 minutes until they are soft and you can see the sugars begin to caramelize. It will smell heavenly and the skins will wrinkle a bit. If you can easily pierce the skins with a fork, you should be good to go.

Let the squash cool and then scoop out the flesh into a bowl for later use. We won’t use the skins in this recipe, but you can certainly eat them if you want. 

Honeynut Squash Soup Recipe


Two cups of roasted honeynut squash (about three squashes), mashed to a pulp
One red bell pepper, diced
Half of one yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
3 cups of vegetable stock
1 tsp of salt (more to taste)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat a saucepan over medium high heat. Add in a drizzle of olive oil, and sautee the bell pepper and yellow onion for two minutes, or until they start to soften. 
  2. Add in the garlic and stir for 30 seconds or so, just until you can smell it. 
  3. Pour in the vegetable stock and add in the salt, cayenne, cinnamon, and a few twits of freshly ground black pepper. 
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to medium-low, cover, and simmer for fifteen minutes. 
  5. Stir in the honeynut squash mash and let the mixture heat up again to a rolling simmer (5 minutes)
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and blend with an immersion blender until very smooth. Alternatively, you can pour the mixture into a stand blender, then return it to the pot and heat through once more. 

What to Eat with Honeynut Squash Soup

Enjoy your soup piping hot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a big piece of crusty french bread for dunking. It also makes a great starter for a holiday or anniversary dinner. Follow it with a main dish of churrasco steak and a dessert course of passionfruit mousse and espresso. Perfeito!

Take Advantage of Texas de Brazil’s Gift Card Bonuses

For a limited time, Texas de Brazil is rewarding gift card purchases with bonus cards. For every $100 you spend on gift cards, you will receive a $25 bonus card; and for every $50, you will earn a $10 card. They make an ideal stocking stuffer or Christmas gift basket addition. Visit our online store to learn more.

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