One such figure is Yemanjá, the Nigerian queen of the seas. There are statues of her on every other beach in Brazil. She is a popular figure, mentioned in songs, books, etc. There are holidays dedicated to this African goddess and her worshipers wear white and make offers to the seas. On New Year's Eve, it became a tradition for Brazilians from all sorts of backgrounds, religious or not, to wear white and go to the beach. What happens next might seem a bit odd for outsiders: at midnight, people jump over 7 waves, making their wishes to Yemanjá (or whatever they believe in).
Another interesting figure is Saci Pererê, it could be roughly described as the Brazilian Leprechaun (in terms of type of creature and popularity). The Saci Pererê also grants wishes to whomever catches him. But, in my opinion, he's way naughtier than the Leprechaun. He also looks cooler (again, in my opinion): he's a one legged black boy with a red cap. The thing I find most interesting about him is that he has origins in the Indigineous folklore and was later adopted and modified by African slaves to entertain their children. He goes waaay back, from the deep roots of Brazil. :)
I feel that this post needed some conclusion, but I'm terrible at those, so I'm ending it here. Happy New Year or something. :)