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Festa Junina throughout Brazil 2023
Festa Junina is not Carnival, nevertheless it is a huge event on the Brazilian calendar. There is song and dancing, although in this case it is more forrό than samba. Also food has a bigger focus than in the Rio Carnival.
Festa Junina is celebrated throughout the nation, but it is at its most intense in the north and north-west regions.
History of the Festival
Festa Junina came to Brazil with the Portuguese Empire and was part harvest festival and part a celebration of the saints: John the Baptist, Saint Peter and Saint Anthony. Over the years it has morphed into a truly Brazilian event and is in many ways a celebration of rural life.
When is Festa Junina?
Though Saturday 24 June is the epicentre of the festival, events build up through June and sometimes slip over into early July.
What to Expect at Festa Junina Brazil
The festival is a homage to the countryside. People dress up in idealised country/old-style peasant clothes, chequered shirts/skirts and put on straw hats. They paint on moustaches, goatees and freckles and women put their hair into pigtails. It’s not too hard to blend in!
These costumes are combined with country music, or forrό, that is danced to in a quadrille/square dance style. This festival is enjoyed at all sorts of levels: in the school, in the home, in bars, clubs, exhibition tents and outdoor events. There may be a bonfire (to keep away those winter chills that may not feel very wintery to tourists), there may be fireworks, and there may even be the presentation of a rural wedding to represent the fertility of the Earth.
Where is Festa Junina?
It is throughout Brazil, though there are considerable regional variations.
What to Eat and Drink
This is the start of winter so there are two special drinks. Firstly, spiced mulled wine, Brazilian style and, secondly, cachaça, which is distilled from sugar cane. White cachaça is used in mixed drinks (expect all sorts of spicy combinations), like the famous caipirinha, whilst golden cachaça is aged and is drunk neat. Remember, this is a family festival so a range of interesting fruit juices should also be available.
Foodies will have fun during the festival, with all sorts of treats appearing. There is sweet potato and cassava with molasses, Portuguese green soup (with sausage, potato and greens), hot dogs with a difference (the sausages come in a tomato sauce with garlic, peppers and onions that is topped with cheese, corn, raisins and peas) and lots of corn on the cob with salted butter.
For dessert, there are: sweet corn cakes, canjica (grated cinnamon and coconut on top of a mix of corn, condensed milk and coconut milk), pacoça (a peanut, sugar and salt mix), cocada (coconut candies), and tapioca couscous with grated coconut. Pine nuts and popcorn are popular to snack on.
Flights to Brazil
There are direct flights from London to Sao Paulo with British Airways and Latam. According to Skyscanner these flights are the Greener Choice, emitting less CO2. There are also direct flights to Rio de Janeiro with British Airways.
Portugal has direct flights to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Fortaleza, Salvador, Recife, Belo Horizonte and Brasilia. From the US, you can find direct flights to Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
Domestic flights will then link you to all other regional cities.
Accommodation During Festa Junina
To find the best accommodation in the cities you visit, as well as international flights, please search via our comparison engine, which scans all the major booking sites so you don’t have to.
Things To Do In Brazil
For inspiration on what to do in Brazil, go to https://www.visitbrasil.com/en/.