June Festival Brazil

example of june festival in brazil: meus amigos aproveitaram a festa junina!

Hello folks! Ready to learn Portuguese? Today we’ll discuss one of the most important festivals in Brazilian culture: The June Festival in Brazil.

Festa Junina or Junina party is one of the most loved celebrations in Brazil. It is a Catholic celebration, where people prepare bazaars in honor of three saints. They are Saint Anthony, on June 13th; Saint John, on June 24th and Saint Peter, on June 29th. That’s why we call it the June Festival. We call it Festa Junina because Junino and Junina mean related to June.

But what is the June Festival after all?

our students having fun during june festival in brazil: colorful little flags, as bandeirinhas coloridas

The June festival originated in Europe, mainly in France, and was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese. Here in Brazil this party has its origins in the countryside and used to be a way to celebrate harvesting.

The period from June to September was dedicated to harvesting, soil preparation and planting new crops. The farmers would bring the products from their harvest to this celebration! In the beginning, the party was known as Festa Joanina in honor of Saint John, but then the name was changed to Festa Junina.

From the countryside, the festival spread to the big cities and nowadays each region has its own way of celebrating, always with an abundance of music and traditional food on offer. It is always cheerful and colorful, just like all other Brazilian celebrations.

In Brazilian schools there are a lot of celebrations! Many children and teenagers dress in typical clothes, especially for this party, and rehearse different dances. It’s a great time to celebrate with family and friends!

Traditional Practices and Food

the typical clothing from june festival in brazil

Usually, Festa Junina parties happen outside in venues we call arraiais. Normally, there are stalls where you can buy drinks, link quentão (an alcoholic beverage made with cachaça, water, sugar, orange peel and lime, cinnamon, clove and slices of apples). We play fun games like; Pau de Sebo (greasy pole), Pescaria (Fishing) and Correio elegante (Love letter) and often have fireworks. The Brazilian June Festival has a huge variety of traditional countryside food for sale. Each region has its own variety.

Dancing plays an important part in the festival, and so, two of the most popular dances that people practice are; the quadrilha (quadrille or country dance) and forró dances. Likewise, other traditional practices that you can see at a Junina party in Brazil include the building of a bonfire and the performance of a fictitious Farm Wedding in which a countryman groom marries a countrywoman bride. The bride’s father is usually an angry man that holds a rifle to prevent the groom from running away.

The June festival in Brazil is usually cheerfully decorated with colorful bunting, flowers, stars and balloons, meanwhile colorful outfits like lacey dresses, straw hats, boots and plaid shirts, etc. are usually worn by the party goers. But did you know that there are some striking differences between regions and how this party is organized? Let’s check it out!

Northeast Region

The northeastern states of Brazil, including Bahia, Pernambuco, and Sergipe, have some of the most exuberant June festivals. These celebrations are influenced by Afro-Brazilian traditions and feature lively music styles like Forró and Baião. The Northeast is famous for its large bonfires, colorful decorations, and traditional clothing, with women wearing colorful dresses and men donning straw hats and checkered shirts. In addition to typical June festival activities like the quadrilha dance, the Northeast also incorporates regional customs such as the Bumba Meu Boi, a theatrical performance with roots in indigenous and African cultures, that tells the story of a bull through music, dance, and colorful costumes.

While in the North East, the most traditional dishes are baião de dois, cuscuz (made with corn flour, salt, water and butter) and caruru (made from okra, onion, shrimp, palm oil and toasted nuts).

Northern Region

The Amazon region and other northern states like Pará and Maranhão have unique June festivals influenced by indigenous traditions. These celebrations combine elements of indigenous rituals, Portuguese folklore, and religious influences. Festivities often feature traditional dances like the carimbó and the quadrilha, but with distinctive regional costumes and music styles. Many June festivals in the Northern region also incorporate the Bumba Meu Boi.

In the North region, for example, the most famous dishes are maniçoba, tacacá, tapioca, vatapá and bolo de mandioca (cassava/manioc cake).

Central West Region

This region birthed many legends of the Brazilian Sertanejo – the type of music usually played at these festivities. Here we will find dishes such as pamonha (a paste made from sweet corn, boiled wrapped in corn husks. And it can be savory or sweet), sopa paraguaia, arroz doce (rice pudding) and empadão goiano (Goiano style samosa).

Southern Region

In the southern states of Brazil, such as Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina, June festivals are heavily influenced by European immigrants, particularly from Germany and Italy. The festivals feature traditional European dances like the schuhplattler or the tarantella. Unlike the bonfire-centric celebrations in other regions, southern festivals often include fireworks as a major attraction.

Differing a bit from these previous regions, the South of Brazil offers dishes that are more similar to the Southeast of Brazil, like salsichão (sausage), arroz carreteiro, churrasco and pinhão (a type of pine nut).

Southeast Region

In states like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Minas Gerais, the June festivals have a more urban and cosmopolitan vibe. While they still preserve traditional elements, such as quadrilha dances and bonfires, these celebrations often incorporate elements of samba and other popular Brazilian music genres. São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, both cultural melting pots, showcases a variety of regional dances and foods from different parts of Brazil during its June festivals.

So there are many, many, many delicious dishes in this region, such as feijão tropeiro, cuscuz paulista, caldinho de feijão (common bean soup), pão de queijo, pizza (yeah, we love pizza too!), pastel (fried pastries stuffed with meat or cheese), espetinho de churrasco (churrasco skewer), canjica, popcorn, pé-de-moleque (a type of peanut candy), boiled corn, sopa de ervilha (pea soup), caldo verde (made with collard greens, potatoes, olive oil, black pepper and salt), paçoca, and corn cake. (Oh, my, I’m hungry now… aren’t you?)

Typical Music During June Festival in Brazil

Let’s check out some iconic songs people dance to during the June Festival.

Asa Branca

This one is from the great master Luiz Gonzaga, the mastermind behind a lot of Junina Festival’s music.

Isso Aqui Tá Bom Demais

Dominguinhos, another iconic artist, has this classic in his repertoire, which has as title: “Look how amazing this is!“. We think it’s very apropriate for the June Festival 😛

O Sanfoneiro Só Tocava Isso

This music is very traditional for the quadrilhas, especially the ones danced by schoolchildren! Every Brazilian child knows its lyrics by heart!

Xote da Alegria

Xote da Alegria is more contemporary, but very loved and often played during Junina parties.

Vocabulary for June Festival in Brazil

Festa JuninaJune Party
QuermesseFestival
Santo AntônioSaint Anthony
São JoãoSaint John
São PedroSaint Peter
InteriorCountryside
ColheitaHarvest
AgricultorFarmer
ArraiáParty venue
Pau de seboGreasy Pole
PescariaFishing
Correio eleganteLove letter
 Fogos de artifícioFireworks
PipocaPopcorn
Milho cozidoBoiled Corn
PamonhaBrazilian style tamale
Bolo de fubáCornmeal cake
Bolo de mandiocaCassava/ Manioc Cake
CuscuzCouscous
Arroz doce Rice pudding
 Empadão goianoRegional pie
SalsichãoSausage
PinhãoPine kernel
Caldinho de feijãoBean soup
PastelFried pockets
Espetinho de churrascoChurrasco skewer
Pé de molequePeanut brittle
Sopa de ervilhaPea soup
PaçocaPeanut candy
QuadrilhaQuadrille or Country Dance
FogueiraBonfire
Casamento de roçaFarm Wedding
Noivo caipiraCountryman groom
Noiva caipiraCountrywoman bride
FugirRun away
FantasiaCostume
BandeirolasBunting
FloresFlowers
EstrelasStars
BalõesBalloons
Chapéu de palhaStraw hat
BotasBoots
Camisa xadrezPlaid shirt
Performances teatraisTheatrical performance
Rituais indígenasIndigenous rituals
Fogos de artifícioFireworks
Danças regionaisRegional dances

Time to Practice!

  1. What is the traditional drink of the Festa Junina?
  2. What are the three most well-known soups served at the June party in the Southeast?
  3. In which month does this festival typically take place?
  4. What are the most famous dances of the Festa Junina?
  5. What is the origin of the June party?
  6. Which are some famous games played at the June party?

That’s all folks! Hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about our culture and Brazilian celebrations.
Until next time, cheerio!

Click on the links below to see more related Dicas
Feira de São Cristóvão
Brazilian Typical Food
How to Make Brazilian Cuscuz
Brazilian Caipira

Answers

  1. Quentão
  2. Caldinho de feijão (bean soup), Sopa de ervilha (Pea soup) and Caldo verde (Green soup)
  3. June
  4. Quadrilha (Quadrille or Country Dance) and Forró
  5. Of European origin
  6. Pau de Sebo (greasy pole), Pescaria (Fishing) and Correio elegante

This post is also available in: English Português (Portuguese) Español (Spanish)

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