So Brazilians are STILL celebrating their Cowboy Holiday, also known as Festa Junina (which translates to “June Festival”). I thought this holiday was mostly a Northeastern Brazil thing..? But apparently not. Or maybe it’s just because Brazilians (cariocas especially..) just like any reason to have a good time, eat outside, and hang out with their friends. :)
Anyway, so I finally got off my lazy ass and actually looked up what exactly this holiday is about. According to Wikipedia, it’s basically a holiday to give thanks to St. John the Baptist for bringing rain (hopefully) since normally these months are dry and difficult for farmers. And, hence, the country-farm-cowboy-straw-hat-square-dancing theme.
So I guess really I should have called it the Farmer Holiday, rather than the Cowboy Holiday.. But now it’s too late.
You’ll notice that it is no longer June, so Brazilians have very cleverly changed the name of this holiday, which is normally Festa Junina to Festa Julina… Which translates to “July Festival.” I see what you did there, Brazil.
Anyway, in honor of Festa Juni — I mean, Julina — there are festivals every weekend. My friends and I decided to go to one called “Arraial Imperial” which is held at the Instituto João Alves Affonso here in Rio. (The institute is a giant palacial house that is currently used as a school for underprivileged children.. I believe.)
Here’s a shot of the festival as we entered…
Aaand of course what would a Brazilian festival be without foods?
Grilled meats were abundant..
…And so were the sweets. :) Mmmm, coconut cake and banana cake covered in chocolate. Yum.
Then there’s the “arraial” itself, which is typically like a giant tent or thatched roof under which people dance and sing and play music. Here’s a shot of people dancing quadrilha (Brazilian square-dancing)…
Then there was the batucada. This is the best part. It’s basically a live percussion band that can be made up like 20 or 30 people.
There’s usually a call and response portion of the music they play, which you can see in the video below:
And you can’t really see this kid in the video, but she was killin’ it.
Man, Brazilian kids all dance better than I do…