Today I am sharing with you a little bit about Brazilian Culture. I’ll talk about June Festivals in Brazil or Festa de São João, which is a traditional party to celebrate the harvest time and St. John’s Birthday. Let’s get to know more about Brazil’s unique culture, dance and food!
If you are often visiting this blog Primavera Kitchen, you know that I am spending 5 months in Brazil, visiting my family. They were dying to meet my little 5 months old baby boy. I’ve been living in Canada for almost 7 years and I love the country. For me Canada is the best country to live in the world especially because it is a multicultural country and they really respect the differences, which is wonderful for an immigrant like me. But, I have to say that I missed a lot some cultural party celebrations in Brazil.
June is such a busy month for celebrations in Brazil. Here it is winter and it is also the moment that Brazilians from all over the country, especially in the northeast, give thanks for the rain and harvest to the three catholic saints: St. Anthony, on June 13, St. John, on June 24, and St. Peter, on June 29.
We call this event Festa Junina or June Festivals due to the name São João or Saint John and it was brought to Brazil in the 16th century by Portugueses. This is a celebration that it is very popular mostly in the countryside. People from the larger cities go to small towns or farms to party. My family lives in a big city, but we have uncles, aunts and cousins who live on a farm and they always prepare a big party this time of the year. This year they invited us to go there and of course we couldn’t miss it. So, we went to my family’s farm two weeks ago. I just would like to share a little bit about this part of the Brazilian culture with you guys.
My aunt’s farm is very far from the capital called Salvador. So we had to drive for about 6 hours. We left around 5:30am and it was the best time to leave because my little Thomas slept for almost half way. Of course we had to stop 3 times to breastfeed him and to have something to eat. I know it is a long drive, but my whole family was there and it was a great opportunity for everyone to meet my baby boy for the first time.
Normally June Festivals or Festa de São João takes place in churches, schools, clubs, community centers, squares, parks and of course farms. These places are usually decorated with lots of coloured small triangles flags and balloons like you can see on the pictures below.
Everybody who goes to June Festivals like to dance forró or quadrilha, which are typical dances in Brazil for this time of the year. To dance the quadrilha, people like to dress up as farm men with jeans, suspenders and straw hats and women wear very colourful dresses with ponytails and paint a gap between their teeth. At my family’s farm there was a little forró band where the guys played accordion, drums and the triangle and sang as you can see on the picture below.
Also as we all know an awesome party has to have lots of delicious food, right? So, this party was not different. Since June is the corn month in Brazil many traditional dishes for this party are made with corn such as cornbread, pamonha, canjica or curau, munguzá and corn on the cob. We also love to eat paçoca, pé-de-moleque and lots of rice pudding and fruits. At the farm there are lots of fruit plants like watermelon, cacao (the seed of this fruit are used to make chocolate), banana, papaya and so on… YUMMY! (See on the pictures below).
At these parties there is also a traditional lighting of bonfires in the evening. Kids go nuts and dance around the bonfires and play with fireworks.
We had a very good time there. We relaxed on the hammock and ate fresh fruit for breakfast every day. For lunch we ate beans, rice, and pork which was slowly cooked on a traditional wood-burning stove. Yummy!
We spend four days there, but I wish we could spend more time at the farm. However, we had to come back because my husband had to work. We made a huge mistake of leaving on the Sunday instead of Monday because all of Brazil had the same idea to return that day. It ended up taking us 14 hours to get home, but all was worth it. I selected few more pictures to share with you guys. I hope you have fun looking at them!
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Ps: Some of those pictures were taking by my talented cousin Adriana Ribas.