By Fiona Hurrell, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This weekend, June 2nd and 3rd, people all over the world will be raising a glass to toast her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, on her Diamond Jubilee year in which she commemorates sixty years as ruling monarch. In Rio, the expatriate community is working hard to ensure that this year’s celebrations are representing well.
Key events including a cocktail celebration at The British and Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro (BCS) Jubilee Hall in Botafogo, and a quintessential British feast at the Gringo Café in Ipanema.
Not only does the Queen’s Jubilee offer the chance for expatriates to celebrate a much-anticipated public event, it also instills a sense of community and a shared pride of being British, a reason to uphold tradition despite being thousands of miles away from home.
That is one of the reasons why on Saturday, June 2nd, BCS will be holding a special gathering at the Jubilee hall in Botafogo from 5PM until 9PM.
BCS ex-Chair and longtime member Jack Woodall explains “It has been a tradition for decades to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday every year in June, all over the Commonwealth and wherever there are British societies like in Rio and São Paulo.”
The party will include a loyal toast, whilst refreshments of cocktails and canapes will be served. In terms of entertainment, music will be provided by the SCM Beatles choir, and Scottish dancers will perform a visual display whilst children will be kept entertained by party games.
During the course of the evening, a film will be shown, documenting the life and ruling of Queen Elizabeth II. Guests will also have the opportunity to win a variety of British souvenirs by entering a raffle draw.
British expatriate Catherine Bruce will be attending the BCS celebrations and is especially looking forward to the event. She explains, “The Queen and community are equally important reasons for celebration. I admire her as a monarch and as an individual and I hope there will be a good party spirit amongst the British people on the day.”
Tickets for the event cost R$30 for members, R$60 for non-members and R$10 for eight to fourteen year-olds. Children enter for free. Anyone wishing to attend the event can either purchase tickets directly from the BCS website or office. Alternatively, tickets can be purchased on the door and guests are advised to dress smartly.
Elsewhere, expatriate in Rio and Gringo Café owner Sam Flowers will host special English events the same weekend. Flowers, who, over the years, has honored a multitude of events for the expatriate community, understand why the British want to celebrate such a big ´cultural´ event, even when they live in Rio.
“I think we take our culture with us wherever we go; it’s not limited by borders. Even more important is to share these traditions and celebrations with the community we are in. Sharing in this way is what builds understanding and kinship between people from different places,” he explains.
With this in mind, Flowers has planned a whole weekends worth of festivities starting with a traditional British three-course meal on Saturday, June 2nd. Flowers reveals, “The dinner menu will include appetizers such as Avocado and Prawn Cocktail or Asparagus with poached egg and Hollandaise sauce.”
Flowers goes on to describe: “Main dishes are either Posh Fish and Chips, Tweed Kettle Pie or Chicken and Leek Pie and for dessert Eton Mess, Victoria Sponge Cake or Chocolate Rosemary Pots washed down with Bucks Fizz or Gin and Tonic.”
The menu has a set price of R$99 and anyone wishing to enjoy this culinary feast will need to contact Flowers directly on email@example.com to make a reservation.
On the following day, Sunday, June 3rd from 3PM-7PM, Flowers has prepared a special British tea consisting of classic treats such as finger sandwiches, mini quiches and sausage rolls topped off with scones and tea cakes. During the tea, the Gringo café will be showing a BBC broadcast of the London Thames river parade.