By Esmee Verbeek, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Winter has arrived in Rio along with cooler temperatures, but Cariocas are not known for a lack of celebrating, and with the Festas Juninas (June’s Festivals) here there is plenty of fun to be had. The festivals are mostly associated to the Northeast of Brazil, but throughout the country Brazilians celebrate the days of saints, the rural life and the end of (the Northeastern Brazil) rainy-season.
In Rio, Festas Juninas is mostly celebrated on the days of Saint Anthony, June 13th, Saint John the Baptist, June 24th, and Saint Peter on June 29th. However all through the month of June, at squares, in streets and around clubs and churches, arraiás (which look like open wood and straw wooden tents) are constructed and decorated with flags and lanterns.
Traditional Northeastern snacks and drinks like sweetcorn, fried bananas, quentão (hot mixture of cachaça, water, ginger, sugar, orange, lemon and cinnamon) and vinho quente (hot mixture of red wine, water, sugar, pineapple, apple and cinnamon) are sold in abundance.
Couples dance forró and quadrilha (sort of folk-dancing) in which they perform the casamento de roça, where a couple marries, all dressed up, rural-garden style, to celebrate the marital union according to Saint John.
While the adults like to go to church, dance and drink some quentão, for children there are typical Junina games organized everywhere throughout the city. From túnnel do horror (tunnel of horror), to pescaria (fishing), dança de laranja (orange dance) and corrida de saco (sack races).
At Via Parque Shopping in Barra da Tijuca, in the Arraiá do Clubinho, in between 5PM and 7PM, June 24th, children can play these typicial games while laughing about the club’s characters Lili Zag and Jota Zug.
For both Cariocas and non-Cariocas ready to celebrate, a popular event is the Feira dos Paraíbas, also known as the Northeastern Fair or the Feira de São Cristóvão. This fair is the assemblage of all that´s Northeastern in Rio.
The entire month of June, every Friday (7PM to 5AM), Saturday (12PM to 5AM) and Sunday (12PM to 10PM) traditional bands and groups perform. Quadrilha groups like Rastapé and Cazumba, as well as Amelinha (June 23th), Cigano and Multibloco (June 24th) will be getting the crowds dancing.
During the Festa Junina events the traditional foods and drinks will be served in the multitude of restaurants and food stands. The large covered fair ground is also full of shops. For more information on their events, check the website.
Some other popular Festa Junina events this weekend are:
Arraiá do Monobloco:
At Espaço Monte Libano, Lagoa, Monobloco sets up their own Carnival-like ´arraiá´ on Saturday, June 16th. The music starts at 10PM. Check their website for more information.
Arraiá do Leviano Bar:
With Mariana Mello, Marcelo Guerini and Trio Pé de Serra, Lapa´s Leviano Bar promises an extraordinary night for dance enthusiasts. The events starts at 10PM, Saturday, June 16th at Avenida Mem de Sá, 47 and cost R$30 per person.