By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Saturday, December 8th, the British and Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro will be hosting a fun-filled Christmas Festival on the grounds of the British School and Christ Church in Botafogo.
The Christmas Festival, which will run from noon until 5PM, is set to be a fun, family-friendly, and relaxed way to experience some Christmas cheer in the leafy Botafogo grounds of the British School. It will hopefully be as big a success as the society’s Summer Garden Party this June, which was attended by 250 people.
In a similar style to the ‘Junta Local’ market that takes place within the same grounds, there are going to be more than 25 stalls, offering everything from food and drinks to Christmas decorations, jewelry, and artisan ceramics. For those looking for something out of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ homemade British mince pies, Christmas cake and pudding, as well as rhubarb crumble and even Pimms will be on offer.
However, there will also be a taste of the Commonwealth and beyond, with authentic Indian curry, Colombian empanadas, Cameroonian cuisine, Dutch sweets and even Belgian waffles all freshly prepared for the festival.
Alexander Corrie, BCS member, suggests for visitors to, “come armed with an appetite, plenty of cash and a large carrier bag!” When recommending a particular stand, he adds, “Mustafa, from Syria, will be selling delicious lamb shawarmas, as well as typical Arabian sweets.”
Corrie continues, “At our event we will have several refugees from Syria, including Mustafa. It is interesting to know not only the shawarmas and the sweets, but also the story that Mustafa has to tell, including his journey and how he met us. It’s always interesting to get a viewpoint from someone from the Middle East at Christmas.”
There will also be musical entertainment, such as traditional Christmas carols, plus a special performance from the ‘Brazilian Bagpipers,’ an NGO from São Gonçalo, who will be in attendance dressed in traditional Scottish kilts and piping out songs from the highlands, along with some selections from the Brazilian songbook, and, of course, a few Christmas classics.
This event promises to be fun for all the family, and a special ‘Kid’s Corner’ is going to be a friendly hub of arts and crafts, games and playground sports, specially organized for the younger participants. There’s even rumors that Santa Claus himself will be dropping in for a guest appearance.
All proceeds from the event will go to ‘Street Child United Brazil,’ who offer an all-weather football field for girls and boys living in the favela community of Caracol, in Complexo da Penha. “Through football and team-building activities the program specifically addresses conflict resolution and gender equality issues highlighted by the Neighborhood Association and the children themselves.” explains Adam Reid, director of the organization.
The NGO also offers educational tools for the children. “Street Child United Brazil are working with The Sports Creative to create a football-themed methodology focusing on key pillars or themes important to the safety and development of the youth.” Reid adds.
The organization will also have an important presence at the festival, says Alexander Corrie, “They’ll be bringing along a team of players and a ‘Street Child World Cup’ trophy, while also having a stand where they will play football with other children at the event. They’re also running a tombola with amazing prizes that will help raise additional funds.”
What: British & Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro (BCS) Christmas Festival
When: Saturday, December 8th, 12-5PM
Where: Jubilee Hall, Rua Real Grandeza 99, Botafogo
Entrance: Free for children, R$10 for adults