June Festivities in Brazil Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Culture

Hello, there!

June came with a wave of protests in Brazil’s largest cities, but today we will be taking a look at a very typical Brazilian festivity: Festa Junina.

The June Festivities or popular saints festivities are Catholic celebrations that date back to the Middle Age to celebrate St John’s Day on June 24th. In Brazil St Anthony (June 13) and St Peter (June 29) are also celebrated.

June Festivitivies have some basic elements:

A Fogueira – The Bonfire

The June bonfires come from Europe and are part of the pagan tradition of celebration the summer solstice in the Middle Age. A Catholic legend states that the ancient custom of lighting bonfires at the beginning of summer had its roots in an agreement from cousing Mary and Elizabeth, who had to light a bonfire on a hill to ask Mary to help her when she would give birth to John the Baptist.

Os Balões – The balloons

Ballons are part of June festivities to tell people that the party is about to start. Kids play around with small and harmeless little bombs called “traque”. Nowadays people are advised not to release balloons without the help of a professional due to fires in forests.

A Quadrilha – Square dancing

The quadrilha is a rural wedding ceremony with a dance afterwards. It portraits a very funny and typical wedding that used to happen back in the day. After the bride and groom say “yes”, they start dancing to commands that a quadrilha singer gives.

The quadrilha usually has the bride and groom and their parents, a priest, the padrinhos and madrinhas – something like the best men and maids of honor – and a pregnant woman for when the priest asks if someone knows about something that could impede this wedding from happening.

The quadrilha is usually a lot of fun and at the end of it the participants praise the three saints:

Viva Santo Antônio!
Viva São João!
Viva São Pedro!

And everybody replies, “Viva, viva, viva!”

Check out this video of a quadrilha I sang last year, at a college party! Enjoy!

A Comida Típica

Here’s a list of some typical food and dishes eaten at June festivities in Brazil.

  • Arroz Doce
  • Bolo de Milho Verde
  • Baba de moça
  • Biscoito de Polvilho
  • Pipoca
  • Curau
  • Pamonha
  • Canjica
  • Milho Cozido
  • Quentão (bebida feita com gengibre, pinga e canela)
  • Batata Doce Assada
  • Bolo de Fubá
  • Bom-bocado
  • Broa de Fubá
  • Cocada
  • Cajuzinho
  • Doce de Abóbora
  • Doce de batata-doce
  • Maria-mole
  • Pastel Junino
  • Pé de moleque
  • Pinhão
  • Cuzcuz
  • Quebra Queixo
  • Quindim
  • Rosquinhas de São João
  • Vinho Quente
  • Suspiro

Google them to see how they are made!

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About the Author: Adir

English / Spanish teacher and translator for over 20 years. I have been blogging since 2007 and I am also a professional singer in my spare time.