How to Celebrate Brazil's Day of the Dead

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How to Celebrate Brazil's Day of the Dead. As a public holiday, people celebrate Brazil's Day of the Dead, called Finados, throughout the country on November 2, following All Saint's Day. Brazil's holiday may be the most subdued of all Day of the Dead celebrations. Still, devout Catholic families spend the day visiting cemeteries, celebrating and remembering the life of departed loved ones.

Celebrate Brazil's Day of the Dead

Leave the city to experience Brazil's more traditional Day of the Dead ceremonies. In more urbanized areas, the locals tend to see the holiday as a welcome day off work, but they do not celebrate the religious or spiritual aspects of the day. Even in more remote areas, many of the traditions of the holiday are now practiced behind closed doors or in churches.

Seek out the cultural or tourist center for the Brazilian town you choose to visit for the Day of the Dead. Many towns put on educational programs about the history of the holiday, which are totally appropriate for tourists interested in the holiday.

Visit the graves of your loved ones, leaving flowers and lighting a candle to honor your departed family member. You'll find many people in Brazil using this day to visit the graves of loved ones. Unlike other countries, you won't often find large parties in the graveyard.

Create an altar in your home to honor the departed with prayers and blessings throughout November. On the Day of the Dead, cook the favorite meal of the deceased person and place it on the altar. Leave a cigarette or drink if they used to enjoy those products.

Become mesmerized by the flickering candles at local cemeteries. After an evening mass, some churches hold a progression to a nearby cemetery, so that loved ones can light candles. You may even find a few preachers offering public or group prayer.

Keep your distance. Remember that Brazil's Day of the Dead gives families a chance to remember their loved ones, and it would be rude to intrude on their personal gatherings. Instead of bothering mourning families, seek out public areas from which to observe celebrations.

Tips & Warnings

  • Throughout the day, you'll find processions of people making their way from church to graveyard. Most often, these people will be dressed in the finest clothes, shouting the names of patron saints as they move through the streets.
  • Day of the Dead seems to be disappearing in Brazil as Halloween becomes more popular.

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