All You Need to Know about Thanksgiving in Brazil

Thanksgiving is a popular festival that is celebrated in various countries around the world. Contrary to what some may believe, it is not only a US tradition but also a celebration in other cultures as well. In Brazil, Thanksgiving is a religious celebration that takes place every year on the fourth Thursday of November. If you’re not familiar with how locals honor the day, have a read through for an insight into Brazilian Thanksgiving traditions.

An Introduction

Thanksgiving is best known as an American custom that celebrates certain blessings such as victory or the end of a drought. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by both Pilgrims and Wampanoag, a Native American people, in autumn 1621. This was the beginning of the tradition, taking place every year in November.

People from the States tend to host a special Thanksgiving dinner with family and close friends. The day is full of activities such as watching parades and American Football games, which play throughout the national holiday.

In Brazil, Thanksgiving is not all that different. The locals have hailed the celebration as the ‘harvest festival’. However, unlike in the United States, Brazilian Thanksgiving is not seen as a holiday. Rather, it is a day for remembering what you are grateful for.

Typically, Brazilian families and close friends gather for feasts to celebrate and show gratitude to god for the entire year’s harvest. The main course for Brazilian Thanksgiving is “Peru”, which is Portuguese for turkey.

One of the differences between the two cultures is that Brazil also hosts a huge carnival. The streets are electrifying with bright lights, people dancing and all sorts of flamboyant colors. Brazilian Thanksgiving is a massive celebration from Rio de Janeiro all the way to São Paulo.


The first Thanksgiving in Brazil was in 1949. It came under the regime of President Gaspar Dutra. Rumor has it that the Brazilian ambassador to the US at the time was the main reason why the tradition was brought to Brazil.

According to the record books, Joaquim Nabuco, Brazil’s ambassador in Washington, was in the United States in November 1909. Nabuco got to experience how the American population celebrated Thanksgiving Day in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, New York. Amazed by what he had witnessed, the ambassador reported back to President Dutra and enlightened him about the holiday.

On August 17, 1949, the President established ‘Dia de Acao de Gracas’, meaning the Day of Thanksgiving. A few years later in 1966, Law 5110 was passed, ensuring that every fourth Thursday in November would be instituted as Thanksgiving in Brazil. To this day, Brazil shares the same day for celebrating Thanksgiving as the United States.

Dia de Acao de Gracas

Thanksgiving in Brazil is celebrated by some Brazilians and many families of American origin. Primarily, protestant Christians living in Brazil celebrate the tradition. The likes of the Lutheran Church of Brazil, Presbyterian Church, Baptist Church, Methodist Church and Church of the Nazarene all participate in showing appreciation to god.

In the morning, Brazilian locals attend masses hosted at their churches and offer their prayers and gratitude. Once the evening comes, the streets are full of parties, music, dancing, costumes and food. This is known as the carnival itself. Brazilian people take pride in being grateful, family oriented and joyous, as a collective. They also love to party.

Thanksgiving Dinner in Brazil

One of the most important things about Thanksgiving in Brazil is the food.  As mentioned, the main course is ‘peru’, which means turkey. Every household that celebrates the day of grace is bound to have a massive turkey to feed everyone at the table. Some households substitute this with pork or chicken.

To complement the turkey, Brazilian Thanksgiving feasts usually serve mashed potatoes, corn stuffing, pumpkin pie, a sweet potato dish, ‘Chile’ pork and other heavy sides. Apple cider is also the go-to beverage. The only thing missing from it being an American Thanksgiving is the traditional cranberry sauce. However, people of Brazil more than make up for that with their local ‘jaboticaba sauce’ instead.

Made up of jaboticaba fruits, the dip is very similar to that of cranberry sauce. In fact, whilst some may say it’s the perfect substitute, others may even argue, it’s an improvement.

Another food which is a must at Brazilian Thanksgiving is the farofa. It is a toasted maize flour mixture that is usually served as a side dish. It can also be used to stuff the turkey. Whilst there are many recipes or variations of the dish, the flavor is typically amazing and very crunchy.

To top it all off, Thanksgiving is usually finished with a brilliant desert. In Brazil, the most common choice is chocolate carrot cake. In a nutshell, it is a carrot cake which is smothered by melted chocolate mixed with condensed milk.

Brazilian Thanksgiving Gambling

If you were to travel to Brazil around the time of Thanksgiving, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the Amambay Hotel and Casino. Located in Southern Brazil, Amambay Casino is just about on the border with Paraguay, in Ponta Porā.

The casino is one of the more luxurious places to visit. Amambay Hotel and Casino is a welcoming resort that is the best choice for people who like to gamble and enjoy a relaxing time. The hospitality and casino services at the location are second to none. Games include slots and gambling machines, card tables and roulette. Of course, the casino is also bound to host a fantastic Thanksgiving party in true Brazilian style.

Pināta Fiesta

If you’re unable to travel all the way to Brazil, that is not an issue either. At Spin Rio, we can direct you to the best Brazilian themed slots on the internet. Rio Fever is the most suitable slot to reflect what Thanksgiving in Brazil is all about.

Developed by Pariplay, Rio Fever celebrates the wonderous colors and party feeling of a carnival in the streets of Rio de Janeiro. Played out on a 5-reel, 4-row slot machine, Rio Fever offers 40 fixed paylines. The slot captures the essence of what partying in Brazil is all about.

In the distance, you can see the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer, whilst slot’s symbols are represented by Samba Dancers in all sorts of colors. When playing the slot, you’ll also come across Masks, Maracas, Coconuts, Drums and Headdresses.

One of the biggest attractions of Rio Fever is the Random Wilds, which are triggered randomly by fireworks. When they explode, several symbols on your screen will turn into gold ‘Wild’ ones. This gives you a better chance of landing a winner. Ultimately, the gold Wild also offers the biggest prize in the slot, with 5 across a payline awarding 2,500x your total stake.

Closing Remarks

Although not all residents of Brazil celebrate Thanksgiving, a large portion of the population certainly does. The holiday officially takes place on the fourth Thursday of the month, with carnivals and big gatherings among family and friends. While there may not be any national parades or American Football matches filling up the day, the food and parties are certainly more glamourous than Thanksgiving in the United States, and if you ever have the chance to experience it firsthand, it is sure to be a day that you will never forget.

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