Holy Week

Easter Holidays in Brazil

Photo by Mariana Bortolucci Pereira
Photo by Mariana Bortolucci Pereira

According to its constitution, Brazil is a secular state.


However, the Catholicism has deep roots in the Brazilian culture, due to the centuries of catechism, to which the natives and the African slaves were submitted in order to convert them into Catholics.


Some Christian holidays are still celebrated to this day, most of them in a more consumerist form, like almost everywhere in the western world.


This is a period when many Brazilians take short vacations and the beaches are a popular destination for that. Already on the Wednesday before the Easter Sunday there's a swarm of cars on the highways towards the coast. The traffic jams can grow hundreds of kilometers long!

Photo by Carlos Luz
Photo by Carlos Luz

For the kids (and some adults) it's a very exciting time because of the easter eggs. These are available in all sizes, from as small as a regular chicken's egg to as big as a football or way bigger! These easter eggs are made of chocolate and they're like an empty shell filled with truffles.


Some people make their own easter eggs at home. The kids also get gifts, like for Christmas. There is no traditional search for easter eggs and gifts in Brazil.


The Easter bunny is as popular on Easter as Santa Claus is on Christmas, and he plays the central role in every Easter decoration: in shopping malls, supermarkets, stores, even banks, pharmacies and schools. Some primary schools even get visited by the Easter bunny! It's typical that kids get back home from school wearing handicrafted bunny ears, made of light cardboard.


The fish trade also makes profit in this week. Although the Catholic Church no longer sees the consumption of meat on Fridays and during Holy Week as a sin, many people still go for it only for the sake of eating something special. Usually they'll choose refined sorts like whole codfish, tuna or salmon, all washed down with good wine.


All in all, Easter in Brazil is like Christmas, a celebration based on religion that survived throughout the centuries thanks to the commercial exploitation of these holidays.


The existence of the goddess of Spring Ostara isn't even mentioned in Brazil.