Festa Junina, an as important as Easter and Carnaval holiday in Brazil!
Festa Junina is celebrated in the whole country, during the month of June. Like any other holiday in Brazil, the idea is to party and escape from boring daily life. This holiday includes costumes, colorful decorations, and a lot of tasty food. Initially aiming children, it is a huge mix of different cultures and traditions.
An event you definitely do not want to miss in Brazil.
What are the origins of the Festa Junina ?
Two explanations are given for "Festa Junina's" name. The first hypothesis brings forward the time of the year when the Holiday first appeared: June. The second originates from a Catholic European Holiday celebrating Saint John.
In the beginning, the name of the Holiday was indeed “Festa da Joanina” or Jane´s Fest in English.
Independantly of the name, the one fact that historians agree on, is that it came from Portugal during the colonization.
Brazil has been strongly influenced during this period. Salon dancing came from France, colorful robes and clothes from Iberia, and fireworks from China.
All these elements then mixed with Brazilian culture ingredients. As a result every region has its own way to celebrate this Holiday.
What to eat at the Festa Junina?
In June corn and cereals are reaped in Brazil, which explains why most of the dishes are made of it at this time of the year.
Hot corn, canjica, cuzucz, cereal cake are only a few examples. You will also be able to try peanut cake, milk rice, bombocado, cocada, pé-de-moleque, hot wine, sweet potato and much more.
What are the traditions of Festa Junina ?
Traditions, you may have noticed, are very deep and important in Brazilian culture.
During Festa Junina you will see a lot of camp fire, around which people dance. Lanterns used to lighten the whole festival but many have disappeared over time and since they were forbidden after many incidents.
In the Nordeste, it is very common to see groups of people strolling in the streets and if you are careful enough you will find the huge number of food and beverages disposed near windows by locals for them to eat.
In the Southeastern regions, you will also notice many fairs, organized by schools, churches, syndicates or firms. They have small stands offering food and organizing games for children.
Saint Anthony is celebrated on June 13th, he is considered the wedding saint, therefore there are many rituals and superstitions for women willing to get married during this period. On June 13th, Catholic churches offer “Saint Anthony´s small breads”, the tradition is to dispose them at the center of all other food inside your house, in order to never starve of hunger. Women willing to get married must eat this bread, still according to the tradition.
Festa Junina is definitely a holiday we recommend to spend in Brazil.