Ritual – Brazil


The subject explained many different types of New Year’s rituals, traditions, and celebrations. However, one aspect of the New Year’s festivities seems to pervade and intertwine with every other activity that takes place that day, and that is white: both in idea and color white is literally the official color of the day. Everyone wears white specifically, new white clothes for the whole day. The white, the subject added, symbolizes peace and hope for the New Year.

A caveat tot his “white-only” tradition is the idea that white is good but a little color is great. So women/girls will wear colored undergarments and attached colored pieces of linen or string to their garments, each color symbolizing a different desired effect for the New Year. This specific ritual, as apart from wearing white, is referred to as “Simpaticas.” The subject went on to say that New Year’s in Brazil is somewhat like a national holiday in America: everyone participates, young and old, native and foreign.

It is interesting to see how Brazilians, in particular, are so ingrained in their culture. Their sense of nationalistic pride is almost contagious in that so many people who have gone to Brazil that I have had contact with say that once you are there you feel as though you are Brazilian. It is in fact, a culture that takes pride in having others take part in their cultural experience.