Three very popular Saints are celebrated in June: St. Anthony, on
June 13th (this Saint is said to be a matchmaker; women who are
loosing hopes to find a husband appeal to St. Anthony, particularly
during the periods of the June Parties), St. John (according to
popular faith, the responsible for a good harvest of corn), on the
24th, and St. Peter (the guardian of heavens, with control over
the clouds and rains), on the 29th.
It became a Brazilian tradition to organize parties to celebrate
these saints; because they always happen in June, they were called
"Festas Juninas" in Portuguese. The tradition originated in the
smaller cities of the countryside, where people were more religious
and more dependant on good crops; today, the parties can be found
all over the country. In larger cities, itīs common to see these
parties being organized by churches or schools, which try to raise
some extra funds.
The feasts have some typical features: music, costumes, food, decoration,
A bonfire is always present (June is a cold month in south of Brazil).
People wear clothes associated with hillbillies (the Portuguese
word for hillbilly is "caipira"); young boys make up beard and moustache;
young girls arrange ponytails. Music is based on simple instruments
(triangle, accordion), with several traditional songs.
Food is heavily based on corn and other ingredients available on
farms; boiled corn, baked corn, popcorn, several candies based on
corn, milk and peanuts (pe-de-moleque, canjica, curau, pamonha,
cocada, etc; click here for some recipes of typical Junine food - in Portuguese
only). To drink, several juices for kids, and, to help adults warm
up, quentao (the name means "very hot"; the drink is
prepared with cachaca , sugar, and gengiber).
The Festas Juninas are more popular in the cities of Northeast.
Recife, for example, is covered with smoke during most of June;
St. Johnīs is official holiday in Recife and other cities.
Some cities claim the organize "the best Sao Joao in the world",
and attract many tourists from other regions. For more information,
visit the official websites of the cities of Caruaru and