One of the country’s most anticipated festivities happen in the beginning of the winter. Loaded with Typical food, forró (popular dance originated in the Northeastern origin) and lots of folklore, the month of June is marked by parties steeped in tradition to celebrate some of the most important Brazilian Saints, such as St. Anthony, St. Peter, St. John and St. Paul.
For you to dance the night away and indulge yourself in so many yummy foods, we picked some of the best June Festivals (or festivals of Saint John, as they're also called) in Brazil.
Bahia does not live on Carnival only, dear traveler. Bahia is probably one of the States with the largest number of spectacular St. John celebrations scattered through the cities of the countryside With a number of 23 cities, a few examples are Camaçari, Ilhéus, Castro Alves, Maragogipe, Cachoeira, Piritiba and Amargosa. Its capital, Salvador, doesn't get behind in dance: among the attractions, there are square dance contests (typical dance in June festivals with marked steps), forró concerts and rich cuisine typical of Bahia and of June festivities, among which we cannot forget to mention the good old quentão, which in Bahia is made with clove and rum.
Caruaru stands in the Northeast as one of the most traditional June festivals, disputing with Campina Grande for the best and largest São João party of the Country. 130 km from Recife, during the São João festival, the city features several elements of the regional culture, like the mamulengos, a performance with dolls on a small stage; the cordel literature, booklets written in rhyming and illustrated in the form of woodcuts (technique that uses wood to reproduce images engraved on paper); square dances; and Fife bands (set of percussion and wind instruments).
The feast of Saint John of Campina Grande, in Paraíba, is considered by many the best of Brazil. To host a party this size, the reserved space is about 40,000 square meters, a number that reflects the magnitude of the event. The festivities in the city usually last all the month of June, with concerts of forró (a Brazilian style of music to dance as a couple) and well-known artists in the country.
One of the main attractions of these parties are the food and drink served with a lot of color and flavor. June festivals tidbits are prepared mostly with products such as corn, peanuts and cassava. These are mouth-watering delicacies any time of year.
Pamonha: Sweet or salty, with or without filling, this delight made of corn cannot be missing in any June festival.
Quentão: Wanna beat the cold? Ask for a quentão! This traditional hot drink of the festivals of Saint John mixes ginger, cloves, cinnamon boiled with cachaça.
Maria-Mole: Colorless gelatin, egg whites, shredded coconut and sugar: these are the ingredients that give life to the wonderful maria-mole, a traditional candy of June festivities.
Peanut Brittle: The junction of brown sugar candy and peanut couldn't be better. The peanut brittle is sweet, fragrant and makes you want to take home till the next party.
Canjica (Hominy): Canjica, or mungunzá to the people from the Northeast, is made from corn, grated coconut or peanuts, sugar and milk, and has a creamy texture. To top it off and be happy, just sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, a condiment used in northeastern cuisine and that adds a special flavor to the hominy.