São Jõao, aka the June fesival, in Brazil – bonfires, lots of corn and corn-related foods, homemade liquors and tons of forró music and dancing (check out the news clip below at minute 2:20 for a demonstration by yours truly!) and even a type of square dance called quadrilha! Think Brazilian Carnaval …for the country folks.
The northeastern tradition, celebrating the nativity of John the Baptist, draws from the european midsummer… although here in the Northeast the festival marks the beginning of winter (and when I say winter in the NE of Brazil think springtime weather in DC) and the end of the rainy season. In the semi-arid climate of the interior, a little rain is cause for thanks and celebration indeed. If you´d like to see where I was last year during this time and some examples of the quadrilhas, check out this short clip:
São Jõao is one of my favorite holidays of all time. It unites the warm, happy people of the Northeast and celebrates the culture of their region: a region often marginalized and discriminated against, despite its being what I think is the richest and most unique area in the country. A lá Brazilian, we now have two weeks of vacation, to make the end of São Jõao a little less painful.