If you are interested in Brazil, you have probably already seen – in the photo or with your own eyes – the multi-colored flags hung on the Brazilian streets. These flags are an attribute of the festa junina, which is celebrated during June.
Festa junina means June holidays. These days, three Christian saints are honored: John the Baptist (June 24), St. Peter (June 29) and St. Anthony (June 13).
Festas juninas are accompanied by colorful street decorations, especially in Northeast Brazil and in small towns. The same colored flags are being stretched on the streets. They organize fairs selling sweets and traditional treats. Churches are also involved, many of which selling food and drink in the courtyard and even invite musicians.
Festa Junina traditions
One of the traditions of festas juninas is bonfires. The history of this custom is associated with the summer solstice holiday among European pagans, which later entered Christian traditions with a different meaning. Bonfires at festas juninas are a reminder that these holidays have the same origin as Ivan Kupala among the Slavic peoples.
In addition to colorful flags, fairs and bonfires, festas juninas is also dances in traditional costumes: girls in bright dresses with ruffles, and young people in hats, dressed in the manner of villagers, but also colorful and funny. These dances are called quadrilla or quadrilla junina. They are accompanied by jokes, clownery and unexpected surprises. An indispensable and crown part of every performance is the wedding game. The dancers act out a love story on stage and “get married”. Sometimes only two dancers dress up as the bride and groom, and sometimes all.
A comic wedding is a tribute to Saint Anthony, the patron saint of marriages. On the eve in Brazil, they celebrate Valentine’s Day, also associated with this saint. In festive songs and jokes at the festas juninas, Anthony is asked for a successful marriage.
Festas juninas is always celebrated in schools, especially in the lower grades. This is understandable: children are happy to dress up in colorful costumes and have fun. They have everything like adults, and also have brides and grooms.
Typically during this festival, fairs are held throughout the country with a variety of traditional food and entertainment. The culinary symbols of the holiday are corn dishes, which are harvested during this period. Some of these dishes are: pamonha (pamonha – mashed corn with various additives, wrapped in corn leaves), kurau (curau de milho verde – a sweetness of ground corn and coconut milk), boiled corn, canjica (canjica – sweet corn porridge), corn cake (bolo de milho), couscous, popcorn, cornbread (broa de fubá) and some others. Among the drinks, one can single out mulled wine (vinho quente), which is traditional for the holiday.