By Levi Michaels, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – June may be over, but the winter festival season starting with Festas Juninas (June Parties) has extended to Festas Julinhas (July Parties). That means more celebration of the traditional food, music and dance that comes from the arid Northeast region, which typically experiences the end of the rainy season at this time of year.
The centerpiece of the Festa Junina or Julinha is the arraiá, a string of colorful flags under which people dressed as caipiras (peasants) perform the quadrilha (square dance) to the tune of traditional Brazilian music like forró, xote, and xaxado.
Usually there are also a variety of other activities involved, like a kissing booth, fogueiro (bonfire), fireworks, and the crowd-pleasing casamento caipira (peasant wedding).
These brincadeiras (games) are usually fueled by traditional food and drinks like quentão (heated wine), pamonha (sweet corn) and caldo verde (green stew).
“Caldo verde is quite good,” said Rachel Hsiung, an American jiu-jitsu fighter living in Rio. “It’s basically a kale (or collard greens) stew, often with a ham hock (or some other kind of salty meat) with potatoes and onions sometimes thrown in as well.”
While almost every neighborhood of the city has an arraiá of its own, one of the largest celebrations this weekend will be located in Lapa, when Circo Voador will host their annual arraiá on Saturday, July 6th at 10PM. This year will feature Latin Grammy Award winning singer and guitarist Geraldo Azevedo, as well as Grupo Zanzar, who will perform the traditional dance roda de coco. Pre-sale tickets are available on the Circo Voador website for R$70 general admission or R$35 for students, and also at the door for R$80 general admission or R$40 for students.
What: Arraiá do Circo Voador
Where: Circo Voador, Rua dos Arcos, Lapa
When: Saturday, July 6th at 10PM
Entrance: R$70 (general admission pre-sale)
Attractions: Geraldo Azevedo, Roda de Coco with local bands Zanzar, Da Ladeira and DJ Edna
Buy online: www.ingresso.com.br
The Instituto de Educação Galileu Galilei (Education Institute of Galileo Galilei) will host their arraiá on Saturday, July 13th. Located on Rua Cinco de Julho in the heart of Copacabana, the school will offer traditional food, games, dances and a lottery for ticket holders. Entrance is open to the public and costs just R$3.
What: Festa Junina do Instituto de Educação Galileu Galilei
Where: Rua Cinco de Julho, 254, Copacabana
When: Saturday, July 13th at 12PM
Attractions: Tents, traditional food, games, dances and lottery.
On Sunday, July 14th, the third annual Arraiá Incantado will take place on Rua Monsenhor Jerônimo in Engenho de Dentro, a neighborhood in Zona Norte (North Zone). The party will offer an all-encompassing festas juninas experience, including food, games, bingo, and a traditional quadrilha open to the public. Tickets are R$6 for individual entrance or R$20 for a table of four.
What: 3rd Annual Arraiá Incantado
Where: Rua Monsenhor Jerônimo, 135 – Engenho de Dentro
When: Sunday, July 14th at 3PM
Entrance: R$6 for individual ticket or R$20 for a table of four (children under ten enter free). Each ticket will go to a lottery to win a basket of chocolates.
Attractions: Typical foods, drinks, games, bingo, lottery, dances, traditional quadrilha open to all to participate