Last Saturday night I was told to get ready for a party. We would be bringing some snacks to share, and "it's a Festa Junina party". I had no idea what they meant, but I liked the fact that we had to wear plaid and the promise of food.
This was far out! We could- one: wear what I normally wear every other day, two: dress like lumber jacks, or three: pretend it was early 1991. Jokes aside. I didn't have a clue what to expect. My expectations changed drastically when my sister in law began applying false freckles with her eyeliner. What the heck was I in for?
When we arrived I thought I heard polka music. I thought, "I know this, this is what it sounds like in California on the Fifth of May, but I'm in São Paulo".
Everyone was wearing plaid, jeans, or handmade dresses, some made of plaid and others flower patterns or patchwork. Men were wearing straw hats and some even had their eyebrows filled in with eyebrow pencil or paint to forge a mono brow. It got stranger. There was a man selling corn on the cob and another selling popcorn. Was this a fair or carnival? Kids were fishing in the fountain, and men singing and dancing their hearts out to yes a country type of polka music. It felt like I was at a hoedown but this was the biggest city in the Southern Hemisphere and these people did't have "Say Yes to Prop 8" stickers on their cars.
Well turns out that Festa Junina originated in rural North Eastern Brazil and provides an opportunity to thank St. John for the rain that farmers depend on each year. It is a Catholic festival that happens all over Brazil and is a celebration of rural life where party goers dress in traditional rural clothing, prepare typical food, and participate in quadrilha which is very similar to square dancing.
Look for a second Festa Junina video in the following blog.