School in Rio teaches students how to be Santa Claus

World Today

The Christmas holidays fall at the height of Rio de Janeiro’s summer season. But northern traditions are so popular in Brazil that Rio has a Santa Claus school that teaches students how to be a professional Santa and cope with the high temperatures. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reported from Rio de Janeiro.

School in Rio teaches students how to be Santa Claus

The Christmas holidays fall at the height of Rio de Janeiro's summer season. But northern traditions are so popular in Brazil that Rio has a Santa Claus school that teaches students how to be a professional Santa and cope with the high temperatures. CCTV America's Lucrecia Franco reported from Rio de Janeiro.

Christmas time in Rio de Janeiro was the time to flock to the beaches to escape the scorching temperatures that reach 104 degrees or even more in comfortable swimwear.

In Rio’s only Santa Claus school that has been operating now for over 20 years, people were studying to work as Father Christmas.

At the school, students were taught how to dress the part with boots, a fake belly, the suit , belt, hat and gloves.
“Santas, beside that suit that looks beautiful on the outside , need to wear underclothes to avoid sweating , so it is very hot, with a thermal sensation above 122 degrees,” the school founder Limachem Cherem said.

Students had to be fit and also willing to use makeup to portray the best possible Santa. Requirements also included being over 50 years old and , obviously, knowing how to interact with children.

But the effort pays off. Some, they said, get earned over $200 per hour depending on who hires them. From private parties to shopping malls, Santa’s are in high demand from October to December.

It is a four-day training course to learn how to be a proper Santa Claus. All agree the extra income at the end of the year is more than welcome, but there are other reasons to spend Christmas in a heavy red suit in the peak of Rio’s summer.

Out in the streets , one of the Santa school students tests the magic . In seconds, a little girl runs up to him, on a typical hot day to pose for a picture with the old man from the North Pole.