Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dia do Saci

Happy Halloween! 

My favorite part of yesterday was helping my son make a zombie costume that he can wear to school today.  Ripping up and old shirt and an old pair of pants is so strangely satisfying.  Then we poured red food coloring on it (Brazilian red food coloring is remarkably blood-like).  It wasn't until I was finished making the costume that I realized that my son would NEVER be allowed to wear something like that to school in the US.  Too violent, gruesome, etcetera.  And that's what I think that many Brazilians think about when they think of Halloween:  dressing up as ghosts/witches/goblins/zombies/mummies.  They don't realize that the whole point of Halloween is


Just in the 3 years that I've been in Brazil, I've noticed an increasing amount of recognition of Halloween.  Lojas Americanas sells Halloween costumes now, and I've even heard that there are some large apartment buildings in Belvedere that actually have trick-or-treating. 

But I also just found out that today is Dia do Saci. Saci (pronounced sauc-EEE) is a character from folklore that is considered an annoying prankster, that can be blamed for missing items, small problems, and generally causing trouble.  He only has one leg, and he smokes a pipe and wears a red hat.  From what I've heard, he can also be used by parents to threatened children, as in "if you don't clean up your room, Saci will hide your toys..."  You can read more about him here.

Back in 2004, a law was passed to recognize October 31st as "Dia do Saci" in Brazil.  The hope was that giving Saci his own day will help combat the influence of Halloween (that is in no way Brazilian) and celebrate Brazilian Folklore.  I'm not so sure that this law has been all that successful, but my youngest daughter is happy because she gets to dress up as a butterfly and go to school today. 


  1. Funny how a law was passed with the intent of protecting Brazilian folklore from evil and imperialistic Halloween; but in the end kids just want to dress up as butterflies, or anything else, and be kids. Perhaps the powers that be will incorporate rapadura consumption to Saci day in the near future. The benefits are twofold: allowing children to have their candy, and taking a stand against the evil and imperialistic Tootsie Roll.

  2. So interesting to hear the Brazilian side of Halloween and "Dao do Saci." There is now a stepped effort by adults in the USA to claim Halloween as an adult holiday, with more adults wearing costumes and having adult Halloween parties...interesting... You are so totally right, Shell, in the USA it is still about THE CANDY though!!