Portuguese Language Blog

Scary children’s songs em Português Posted by on Oct 26, 2015 in Culture, Customs, Video

Feliz Halloween, gente!

Yay, it is Halloween again! With the amazing colours in nature that you can only get this time of the year, in outono (Autumn), when we celebrate the end of harvest. However, in this time of the year it is primavera (Spring) in Brazil. This is probably one of the reasons why Halloween was never big in Brazil, it is not in our culture and only in the past few years, because of the significant exposure of American culture, have brasileiros started to celebrate it.

Maybe it is true that brasileiros tend to be joyful in cultural celebrations, nevertheless, we still have our fare share of creepy, dark stories and scary tales.

Weirdly enough one of the most disturbing aspects of our culture are lullabies and songs for children. For some reason there are so many of them which would make your child scared, rather than relaxed. They are sang in a soothing voice, even though the lyrics are terrifying and that is what makes them so interesting.

The reason why people keep singing them to children might be that everyone is so used to these songs that they do not stop to analyse the lyrics. Let’s take a look at a couple of them so you can understand better what they are all about.


  1. Boi da cara preta / Black faced ox

Boi, boi, boi, boi da cara preta, pega esse menino que tem medo de careta.

Ox, ox, ox, black faced ox, take this little boy who is afraid of funny faces.


They lyrics don’t mean anything (thankfully) but the melody is very soothing


  1. Nana neném / Rock the baby

Nana neném, que a Cuca vem pegar. Papai foi pra roça, mamãe foi trabalhar.


Rock the baby because Cuca is coming to get him. Daddy went to the farm and mommy went to work.


  • Cuca is a mythological creature from Brazilian folklore. She is an old, ugly witch who sometimes looks like an alligator



  1. O cravo brigou com a rosa / The carnation fought the rose

O cravo brigou com a rosa/ Debaixo de uma sacada/ O cravo saiu ferido/ e a rosa despedaçada


The carnation was on a fight with the rose / Under a balcony / The carnation ended up hurt/ and the rose in pieces


  • Here the carnation represents the man and the rose the woman in a strange version of a fairy-tale domestic dispute



  1. Ciranda, cirandinha / Ciranda, little ciranda

(Ciranda is a circle formed by children in order to sing and play around holding hands)

Ciranda, cirandinha / vamos todos cirandar / vamos dar a meia-volta / volta e meia vamos dar.

O anel que tu me deste/ era vidro e se quebrou/ o amor que tu me tinhas/ era pouco e se acabou.


Ciranda, little ciranda / let’s all form a ciranda / let’s do half a turn / a turn and a half we should do.

The ring you gave me / was made of glass and it broke / the love you had for me / was very little and it ended.

  • Here we have a cheery tale of romance that children sing together while playing.


You can find all the songs on Youtube and learn how to sing them. So this Halloween try singing some slightly disturbing Brazilian lullabies!

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  1. Jackelyn Hsun:

    Hello guys, I am a new parent and I’m trying to get my two month daughter to sleep through the night. Right now I am fortunate to get four hours sleep a night. Best wishes

    • Ester:

      @Jackelyn Hsun Hi Jackelyn. Congratulations! We hope you can dormir como uma pedra soon!