Festa Junina: A little piece of Brazilian culture on my birthday party.

Festa Junina (June party) is the name used to describe the traditional Brazilian festivities during the beginning of winter, concentrating mainly in June even continuing tho out August all over the Country. This celebrations started with the influences of Portuguese colonisers that celebrate St. Anthony, on June 13, St. John, on June 24, and St. Peter, on June 29. 
After Carnival, it is the second most important popular celebration in Brazilian culture. 

The decoration:

Festa Juninas are very colourful and so are their decor. Many lanterns and colourful buntings. Table cloths made out of chita and patchwork, tables are decorated with flowers, centre tables decorated with straw/dry corn and scared crows and other harvesting inspiration, images of the saints pictures etc.

For my party, the chairs were decorated with straw hats covered in chita, imitating the outfits.

Let me just say how much I enjoyed the staple gun! The wooden frame where most of the food was place was planned by my uncle and my dad hired a few workmen to put together. Because is winter, we hired a frame to cover the garden, and added flooring for the dancers. A few of my uncles also helped putting all the bunting up. My aunties on the table decoration… a true family effort. A few nights family and friends would gather at the large table and make stuff, chat and eat!

The yard (garden) really looked great.

The food:

As June is the month when corn crops are harvested, the majority of typical foods served are made of corn. Delicious pamonha, canjica, corn on the cob and corn cakes. In addition, rice pudding, the Brazilian version of mulled wine”vinho quente”, a version with our national spirit ” cachaca” called quentao,  sweet pumpkin and much more.

For my birthday the menu were:
Two hot soups: Caldo Verde and Frango com Linguica. 
Hot dogs, arroz carreteiro, galhinhada, churrasco, pamonha doce e salgada, Selection of traditional cakes like mane pelado, Marshmallows for the fire and much more….
Did you like my popcorn cake? More detail on another post!

On my birthday table: Brigadeiro chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes, churros with doce de leite, curau, brigadeiro de colher, cocada de colher, doce de abobora, bombom de coco. To be given to guest where chocolate St Anthony’s and bem casados wrapped in chita.
Those attending festa juninas have to dress up.

The outfits:

Chita: Brazilian traditional fabric is used widely in decorations and outfits, other used fabrics include checks and gingham.

Typical clothes worn at the Festa Junina are inspired by vintage rural fashion as the themes of harvest and rain are central to the festivities. Young men wear fake moustaches, patched trousers, straw hats and colourful ties, while women put their hair up in ponytails or braids, wear very ornamented dresses, paint freckles over their cheeks.

I made a few outfits for the party. To be honesty trying to sew 4 different dresses with different fitting challenges with limited time on top of everything else I was involved would be so stressful. My solution: make aprons. Aprons not only looked perfectly on theme but became a lovely gift. I was asked by so many people if I would consider making more and selling those.  A separate post with all the outfit details to come.

Typical Dance: Quadrilha

The quadrilha (square dance) originated in Holland and was introduced in Brazil during the Regency period. It was very popular at the 19th century balls of the Brazilian elite, especially in Rio de Janeiro, where the royal court was located. Later, it descended the palace steps and gained popularity among the general public, who added new steps and changed the music.  Many words used on quadrilha today are sounds representation of french words that the peasants heard and tried to copied.

Quadrillas are a vital component of Festa Junina. Many professional dancers groups perform around the country. For my birthday a fantastic group of colourfully dressed performers were hired.

After the dance, a theatre performance happens to tells the story of a single man who is pressured into marrying a girl that is carrying his child. Everyone participates by singing traditional songs, including the lovers’ families, the ‘village’ law enforcement, the priest and everyone who comes from their ‘village’. The couple is picked among the party goers. Everyone knows how to play and no need of debriefing.

My cousin Paty and her fiancé represented the ‘bride and groom’ act as the centre of the spectacle. My parents teased that was going to be me and HRH but It would have been too much for hrh to take.

Those vibrant dancers are without a doubt the highlight of my birthday celebration.

So glad I had my birthday at home and that my parents gifted me with such beautiful party! Handmade details to come in separate posts. I also will be loading a video on my Youtube Channel.
  • What a fabulous party! I love the costumes, the food and how happy you all look. Certainly a memorable celebration 🙂

  • Such colour and vibrance is wonderful and you’re shared such an insight into Brazil culture.
    Happy birthday.

  • Wow – everything looks so beautiful! Thanks for sharing your lovely party. Looking forward to reading about the popcorn cake!

  • You are a very lucky girl, that was one awesome party!

  • How great to see your traditional celebrations. So colourful! X

  • Glad to see you had such a great birthday, with such a joyous party x

  • that looks spectacular and how wonderful that it is a family affair with everyone helping out. So glad you had a Happy Birthday!

  • that is just SPLENDIFOROUS!!! you must have been the happiest birthday girl ever!

  • Oh wow, amazing! Love seeing these photos from your party!

  • Festa Junina é o que tem de melhor!!!!
    must have been awesome!

  • Wow! What a fantastic and beautifully done party! You are very gifted it have such family and friends.

  • Wow, that looks like most awesome party! Love all the bright colours 😀

  • happy colourful birthday

  • LOVED reading this post Rachel! So glad you had such a wonderful and happy birthday. xxx

  • This post was so interesting to read, it looks like such a wonderful party! Great pictures!

  • What a fabulous party!! You are lucky to have such wonderful family and friends to make it such a celebration!

  • Wow what a fabulous birthday party! I love your cake!

  • Oh Rachel , this party looks IMMENSE! I love all the decorations and how everyone goes all-out for the festivities. What a totally fabulous birthday! Plus the apron is Brills. So p!eased you had a wonderful time!

  • WOW! It looks like your family really pulled all the stops for your birthday! Thank you for sharing details of your culture; it’s so fascinating to learn about it!

  • Wow, this is amazing. The decorations, the quadrille costumes, it’s a carnival for the eyes,so much gorgeous color!

  • This is the second time I’ve read this, coming back after reading the two most recent. I love reading about your family and Brasilian culture. And cannot get my head around how amazing your birthday party must have been!!!

  • Wow! What an amazing party! Thanks so much for sharing!