Musician Jeferson Ceo is pulling Queenstown’s Brazilian community together for a carnival-style Christmas knees-up.
Ceo is organiser of a red-hot Boxing Day party for more than 300 Latin revellers at Revolver.
He wants his fun-loving countryfolk to have a taste of home during the festive period, with a colourful night of dazzling Brazilian music and dancing.
Singer-percussionist Ceo and his keyboard-playing brother Anderson will provide live sounds with their popular duo Made In Brasil.
“We are happy people and sure know how to party,” he says. “It’s also good to have a big get-together at Christmas as many Brazilians are a long way from their families.
“When you are singing and dancing, you don’t miss home quite so much. The party will also be a great place to meet and to help each other.”
He adds: “Everyone is invited, not just Brazilians – so anyone is welcome to experience a small piece of our country in Queenstown.”
Christmas marks an increase in South Americans coming to the resort to work over the summer.
And Ceo believes it’s important to make sure no one feels alone at this time of year.
“On Christmas Day, two of my neighbours are having parties and we’ve invited many Brazilians living nearby to come,” he explains. “We celebrate much the same as Kiwis do, with a traditional tree and exchanging of presents.”
Ceo, who works as a driver, has lived here with his ballet teacher wife Daniella for almost two years.
He adds: “For many Brazilian people in Queenstown, this will be their first Christmas away from home and it’s hard – so it’s important to keep busy to help keep your mind off things.
“The best way to do that is to be with other people who know exactly how you feel.”
Dreamin’ of a Samba Xmas
Traditional Brazilian Christmas dinner is called Ceia de Natal and consists of turkey, ham, coloured rice, vegetables and fruit dishes.
The Santa Claus who brings presents for children in Brazil is known as Papai Noel or Father Noel – who lives in Greenland but wears silk clothing because of hot summer conditions.
Christmas night in Brazil is a time of colourful celebration. Fireworks light up city skylines and the lights of Christmas trees can be seen for miles around. Fresh-picked flowers decorate homes and storefronts as far as the eye can see.
A strong tradition amongst family and friends is known as amigo secreto (secret friend). At the beginning of December, each person draws a piece of paper but doesn’t reveal the name on it to anybody else. They will then buy presents for each other and exchange them on Christmas Day without knowing who they’re from.
Christmas in Brazil also features folk dancing and singing, with festivities continuing until January 6, known as Three Kings Day.