Festa Junina: The Brazilian Cowboy Holiday

So I’ll spare you the details of what exactly “Festa Junina” is, since there’s already an entire Wikipedia article in English on it. Suffice to say, though, that it is what I call the Brazilian Cowboy Holiday. Yup. Basically, people dress up as farmers and cowboys and general country-type folk, dance forró, and listen to live music outdoors (but really these last two things happen anyway even when it’s not a holiday).

Anyway, Sílvia, Mari, Sole, Carina, Mafe, and I met up at Praça XV to catch a ferry to go to Ilha de Paquetá. (Side note: Wikipedia says that the word “paquetá” means “many pacas,” which I think is adorable because… well, pacas are adorable.) (Another side note: Here’s a map of Ilha de Paquetá.)

The ferry from Praça XV, in downtown Rio, to Paquetá Island took about an hour. Once we got there, we walked for about another 15 minutes to the main square where the festival was being held.

There was a giant tree and lots of lights…

In the middle of the square. It was somewhat empty when we arrived.

The main square on Ilha de Paquetá where the Festa Junina festivities were held.

More people started arriving after a bit…

Obviously the thing to do was to eat. Although normally dancing “quadrilha” (their version of square dancing basically) is a typical Festa Junina activity, I actually didn’t see anybody dancing it, if at all. Maybe the crowd was just too young and hip? I have no idea. Either way, the clear activity of choice was to eat food. :)

There were, of course, various kinds of skewered meats…

A food vendor serves up some sausage.

…As well as soups! Here, Sílvia is having some “caldo verde” (literally “green soup”) which was quite good. 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. This particular edition of caldo verde had both salty ham AND bacon pieces.. :)

Sílvia enjoying some caldo verde!

There was also “canjica,” which is a white corn soup. Wikipedia classifies it as a porridge, but the canjica that we had tonight was a bit soupy. Sílvia even commented that she’s usually had it a bit thicker.

Some food vendors servin’ up some canjica. (Not my favorite dish.)

It was kind of mildly sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and coconut milk. I didn’t exactly like it.

Next we had some desserts.

Sílvia trying to decide which dessert to have…

I decided not to get any dessert, but Sílvia had some banana cake (yes, cake, not bread) which was quite moist and sweet and delicious. :) (I don’t think they have banana bread here.. only banana cake!)

And then we were tired and decided to take a rowboat and row home to Zona Sul…

A view of Guanabara Bay from the island. :)

Nah just kidding. We got back on the ferry to head back to Rio proper. :)

…I’m still not entiiiiiirely sure what this holiday is all about… o_o


One response to “Festa Junina: The Brazilian Cowboy Holiday

  1. Pingback: Festa Julina: The Cowboy Holiday Continues | RayRay in Rio!·

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