A people’s culture is translated by its art, music, poems, architecture, legends, dances and festivities. It is a way to preserve the memory of their origins and customs brought by their ancestors, their struggles and conquests. Popular festivals are manifestations able to gather in the same place people from different backgrounds, social classes, ages and religions without discrimination.
There are dozens of folk festivals in Brazil, some nationally known and celebrated in all states such as Carnival and the Junine festivals, others are traditional in certain regions or localities as Congado and the Bumba-meu-boi .
They usually bring the locals together and are oftenly filled with lots of traditional foods, music and dances.
Depending in which city your in it can go a whole 15 days, but usually it lasts around 5 to 8 days and is a billion dollar multimillion public party that changes all life in the country. Its has had its origins linked to anchient egyptian celebrations of the harvest, and after generations through several different civilizations finally arrived in Brazil brought by portuguese colonizers. Modern day carnival festival takes place usually in late febuary early march, and is celebrated from north to south, east to west, being specially strong in coastal capitals strecthing from northeastern Recife upto southern Florianópolis. Each region bares its peculiarities such as the salvador’s carnival with it’s electric trios (Music Floats on lorries) in Bahia, the Gallinho (little chiken) street carnival in the citey of Recife/PE – booth in the northeast. And the grand parades and floats in Rio de Janeiro’s and Sao Paulo’s carnivals too. Modern Carnival has all types of parades and festivities, usually with loud popular music and people flocking the streets dancing and singing all night long. Recent years has seen a rise in local low bugget carnival with more street gatherings and popular participation, making the party more family like and democratic. If enjoying all the atmosphere that the party offers or just enjoying the bank holiday it makes a great opportunity for visiting Brazil.
‘Cavalhadas’ (religious festival mainly comemorated on horse back) is a festival of portuguese origin which reaches back to medieval tournaments and battles between christians and moors. The Cavalhadas were brought to Brazil by portuguese during the catechesis of the Indians and slaves.
The congado which is also known as Congo or congada, is a cultural and religious expression of African influence celebrated in some regions of Brazil, mainly in the state of Minas Gerais. The origin of congado is linked to the legend of Chico-Rei. According to the story, Chico was the king of a tribe in the kingdom of Congo, which was brought to Brazil along with nother 400 people to be enslaved.
The Festival for the Divine
The Festival of the Divine was brought to Brazil by the portuguese, and reaches back to the 13 Century. The origin of the feast began when Queen Isabel of Aragon made a promise to the Holy Spirit so that there where to be a conflict between father and son in her family. King Dom Dinis was not getting along with her son Dom Afonso, heir to the imperial throne. The emperor’s wish was that the Portuguese crown passed, after his death, to his bastard son, Afonso Sanches.
The junine festivals
The Junine festivities are very traditional and much loved in Brazil, specially in the Northeast, where there are huge celebrations in honor of the three cathlic saints: St. Anthony, St. John and St. Peter. Second only to Christmas in importance, the festival has strong ties with the Celebration of harvest, specially the corn crop, The festivities and congregations bubble with regional dances and music along with all sorts of traditional foods and dishes. It’s a time of the year to meet up with all kin, friends and neighbors around a bonfire for a traditional ‘Quentão’ – heated wine – wathcing the kids play arond with fire crackers.
Revelry of Kings
The revelry of Kings is a portuguese party that arrived in Brazil during the period of colonization and is part of Brazilian folklore, being celebrated in various Brazilian regions. The time of celebration runs from December 24 until January 6, and its means is the visit of the Three Wise Men to the infant Jesus after his birth.
The legend of Bumba-meu-boi tells of a slave named Catirina (or Catherine), who was pregnant, and asks her husband Chico (Father Francisco) to eat an oxen tongue. The slave forfills his wifes desire, killing an ox from the farm. When the owner discovers he calls shamans and healers to try an save the animal that ends up raising.