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Brazil's June Festivals are the country's second biggest annual celebrations, bested only by the carnival. The festivities are held to honour three saints - St Anthony, St John and St Peter - paying thanks for a bountiful harvest and also to celebrate country life. Party goers typically wear traditional country dress; straw hats and checked shirts for the men, dresses with lace and ruffles for the women.
As the name suggests, celebrations take place throughout the month of June, though some cities extend their festivals into the first couple of days of July. Near the capital Brasilia, there is a large concert which celebrates the best of the festivities from across the country and this usually takes place over the course of five days in August.
The June Festivals are generally concentrated in the north of the country, particularly around the major cities dotted up and down the coastline. Each has their own regional aspect and offers the visitor a slightly different experience. Given that the north of Brazil is somewhat off the beaten track, the June festivals provide the perfect opportunity to visit this lesser-explored part of the country. You'll learn about the rich traditions and vibrant local life, explore diverse cities, relax on idyllic beaches and marvel at natural wonders. Better yet, as all of the cities require a short flight from Rio de Janeiro, they can all be combined with a three or four night stay in the Marvellous City. Learn more about where to experience the June Festivals.
Brazil June Festivals in São Luís (photos by Visit Brasil)
As we all know from the world famous carnival, Brazil knows how to throw a party better than anyone. Just like the celebrations in Rio de Janeiro and the rest of Brazil in February, the June Festivals offer a vibrant spectacle of colourful costumers, rhythmic live music, intoxicating dances and spectacular stage designs and firework displays. However, the festivals also has a deeply traditional aspect and are infused throughout with endearing local customs and accompanied by indulgent cuisine from the region.
The festivities vary from region to region, each having its own unique cultural focal point. Among the most well-known examples include the Bumba Meu Boi tradition in São Luís in Maranhão and the Forró dancing which originates in Caruara in Pernambuco. What unites all June Festival gatherings though is the shared sense of community, pride and fun. It is this atmosphere that makes them such wonderful events to be enjoyed by all, young and old and perfect for families.
Part II: Discover the best places to attend Brazil's June Festival celebrations.