By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – During the month of June in Brazil Festas Juninas are held throughout the country, with Rio de Janeiro being no exception. The holidays are typically celebrated with parties featuring quadrilhas (traditional folk dances), attendees dressed in colorful costumes, tributes to the agrarian lifestyle, flags, ballons, and food and drinks including mulled wine, popcorn, and many corn-based dishes.
Traditionally celebrating the end of the rainy season and the start of the harvest, the Festas Juninas originated from European observances of the summer solstice and from celebrations of popular Catholic Saints. With St. Anthony of Padua`s (Santo Antônio) Day on June 13th, St. John’s ( São João) Day on the 24th and St. Peter’s (São Pedro) Day on the 29th, the saints are observed throughout the month with the parties known collectively as Festas Juninas.
While the festivals, which were brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, took place throughout the country, they originally become most popular in the Nordeste (Northeast Region of the country) with major parties continuing to take place yearly in the cities of Caruaru and Recife in the state of Pernambuco; Campina Grande in Paraíba; Aracaju in Sergipe; São Luís in Maranhão; and Bahia in the state of Salvador.
In Rio de Janeiro the most traditional event among the Festas Juninas celebrations, the São João da Feira, began on June 5th this year and will continue through August 30th, with parties and live shows every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10AM to 9PM.
Located in the Centro Municipal Luiz Gonzaga de Tradições Nordestinas in São Cristóvão, the fair is well known for its celebrations of the cultures of Northeastern Brazil, attracting over three hundred thousand visitors monthly, according to organizers. Housing almost seven hundred tents, the fair is well known for its crafts, food, drinks and music including everything from forró to xote to arrasta-pé to maracatu.
Also in the city of Rio de Janeiro, free Festas Juninas will take place on Saturday, June 6th at Parque das Rosas in Barra da Tijuca beginning at 4PM; in Santa Mônica Jardins in Barra da Tijuca beginning at 6PM; at LuArraiá Vegan located at Praia Vermelha, Urca beginning at 8PM; and at Praça Afonso Pena in Tijuca beginning at 6PM.
On Sunday, June 7th, free Festas Juninas will take place again at Parque das Rosas in Barra da Tijuca, this time beginning at 12PM; in Santa Mônica Jardins again at 6PM; and again in Praça Afonso Pena at 6PM.
Additionally this year, the city of Petrópolis, RJ, will again hold the Eco Arraiá festival in celebrations of Festas Juninas with the bands Tribo de Gonzaga and Forró Giro performing live on June 6th and 7th at Sesc de Nogueira.
Continuing on Saturday, June 13th, back in Rio the Jockey Club Brasileiro in Gávea will host the Festa Junina Village with food trucks and live music. Entry for that event will be R$80. Additionally on the 13th, Bloco do Sargento Pimenta will perform live at Fundição Progresso in Lapa and entrance will be R$30.
Many clubs are also known to host their versions of Festa Juninas, with the popular Fosfobox club in Copacabana hosting the Bloquesta Junina edition of the Wake UP! party on Saturday, June 6th.
To learn about more upcoming Festas Juninas held during the month in Rio de Janeiro, make sure to daily check The Rio Times Nightlife Guide.