Brought to Brazil by the European settlers during the XVII century, the celebration of four Catholic saints became part of the Brazilian culture. The saints were Saint Anthony of Padua (13 June), Saint John the Apostle (24 June), Saint Peter and Saint Paul (both celebrated 29 June). As they all are associated with the month of June, the celebration is called Festa Junina.
Besides honoring the saints, there were other reasons for the Festa Junina: Songs and dances aimed good plantation, harvest and fertility, once it was the period of summer in Europe and good results were expected.The square dance, which is a typical dance of this party, arrived in Brazil during the colonial period. It was primarily danced among the royals, but it soon became popular throughout Brazil.
Based on the history of the Festa Junina, we from Escola Suiço-Brasileira Rio de Janeiro believe that this cultural celebration is of great importance for the staff, the students and their families since moments of solidarity and teamwork are experienced. Furthermore, this party is a school project in which all the involved work harmonically in the organization of games, typical food and dances. In this atmosphere it is possible to recall several symbols that have been fading through the years: the families’ involvement and the acknowledgement and estimation of our cultural and present heritage.
Our institution has also been occupied to associate this celebration not only to the countryside lifestyle, but also highlight the other aspects of the party, like researching and understanding the typical music genres including important singers like Luiz Gonzaga and Dominguinhos, the typical regional food representing the harvest and typical games; besides developing in everyone a conscience on the relationship between the country and the city.
The primary education teachers were responsible for the rehearsing and presentation of the students’ dances (Kindergarten to Grade 5). During the month of May, an introduction to the Festa Junina was made through the selected typical songs and through research on the chosen theme. This year we have chosen as a theme the most popular music genres of the celebration: the sertanejo - similar to country music - and the forró, a square dance that is danced in high school. Traditionally carried out every year, the alumni are also invited to take part in this dance.
Tents with typical games and food completed the event always monitored by teachers, parents and students. Being so, we can state that the Festa Junina of the Escola Suiço-Brasileira Rio De Janeiro reveals itself as a great atmosphere of learning, fun, entertainment and solidarity among all generations.
Paula Cavichine and Gabriel Biondi
Impressions of the Brazilian Harvest Celebrations: