June Parties, or Festas Juninas as they are known in Brazil, are parties held throughout the month of June to commemorate the saints John, Peter and/or Anthony (depending on the region). Brought to Brazil by the Portuguese when they colonized the country in the early 1500´s, the parties are a celebration with fireworks, dancing, eating and drinking, costume wearing and games.
June parties are celebrated in many countries around the world. However, they are particularly popular in Christian European countries because of their origin and much of the festivity is dedicated to Saint John the Baptist as he is said to have been born six months before the birth of Christ; hence the traditional ´Feast of Saint John´ on the 24th of June.
The original name of the celebration in Brazil was Festa Joanina (party of little John), but over time the name became Festa Junina (June party) probably as a result of its connections with the month of June.
The parties in Brazil are a mixture of various cultures from around the world, including dances from France and fireworks from China, but also include a ´Brazilian touch´ with a smorgasbord of food and drink, be it corn and peanut sweets, cakes of many types, pastries of all shapes and sizes, popcorn, or a warm glass of Quentão; a traditional wine, fruit and spice mixture similar to Mull wine from England or Sangria from Spain.
The traditional costume for the parties is ´Caipira´, or ´Country´ in English, and the people enjoy square dancing dressed in an assortment of chequered shirts, straw hats, painted freckles and riding boots.
Today, above all, June parties are a great reason for churches, schools, colleges, companies and even families and friends to get together to have some fun and let their hair down. Every weekend during the month you can encounter the Country Music of a Festa Junina close by.