I was blessed to receive an invitation to spend New Year's Eve with a friend and her family here in Brazil. Apparently celebrating New Year's Eve on the beach with an all night party is common among those who have the money to travel, but I found the typical family celebration at home to be quite similar to that in the US, with champagne and fireworks in the street at midnight.
My oh-so-professional video footage of the fireworks:
A Brazilian New Year tradition is to eat lentils, because their shape resembles coins and therefore eating them is said to bring prosperity. I don't think I have ever had such delicious lentils - this woman's mother is a wonderful cook! Lentils, potatoes, bacon and magic. Or maybe the bacon is the magic. I don't know, but it was awesome.
The first day of the new year was spent lazing around in the backyard, eating plums fresh off the tree, drinking caipirinhas, having churrasco (Brazilian barbecue), and watching their boxer do silly things. Why spend money on pet toys? Try ordinary household items like this metal bowl!
Next door was a banana tree which must have been a different type than those I saw in Rio de Janeiro, because those had pink flowers, not black. I saw on the internet that in Southeast Asia these big black banana flowers are cooked and eaten; I wonder what they taste like.