Tag Archives: Festa Junina

Research Project – Festa Junina

To emphasize a crucial aspect of Brazilian society to the class, this research project will emphasize the importance of the Festa Junina, or June Festival in Brazil. On the surface, this is just another aspect of culture well known for its festivities. However, just like carnival, this festival carries heavy social themes of class and race which infiltrate all interactions during the celebration. This research project aims to explore how the Festa Junina perpetuates racist and classist sentiments in a Brazilian urban environment. To better convey these issues to an American audience,


To understand the Festa Junina, an acknowledgement must be given to the traditions within the festival that will be explored. Using sources that trace the history of practices such as bonfires and São João to their European origin, a foundation can be created for understanding Brazilian versions of this Midsummer celebration. Thus, other primary sources can provide clarity to the specific practices unique to Brazil. From there, various secondary sources will serve as critiques of the aforementioned traditions, analyzing the executions of the festival in Brazilian metropolitan areas. Although the tradition is centered around a celebration of rural life, these scholarly sources expose the festival as an exclusionary practice that prevents those being celebrated from participating, simultaneously demeaning non-white Brazilians in the process. This research is to discover more of how a seemingly lighthearted event carries dangerous implications for Brazilian society itself.


The act of maintaining a major tradition for fair-skinned and middle class Brazilians results in the intersection of identity in the nation. A major focus of this course has been to outline the lived experiences of Brazilians, and what aspects of the culture allow individuals to identify with the nationality. Understanding how this tradition, which has existed since the colonial area, has emphasized the class and racial dynamics in Brazil is crucial to analyzing how the society is structured. Knowing the development and modern practices of the festival can provide insight into knowing the true face of Brazilian society is like.


This research project integrates various interpretations of the Festa Junina ino a single presentation, providing an overview of how this festival sustains a culture of class and racial exclusion in a nation which prides itself on equality. Designed for an American audience, this project will illuminate issues within an important Brazilian festival, breaking down preconceived notions that Brazilian culture is simply a tourist paradise for innocent excitement. This is a culture with complex and deep rooted issues, problems which will be understood through the context of the Festa Junina.



Primary Sources:


  • Rangel, Lúcia Helena Vitalli. Festas juninas, festas de São João: origens, tradições e história. São Paulo, SP: Publishing Solutions, 2008.
  • Anderson, Michael Alan. “Fire, Foliage and Fury: Vestiges of Midsummer Ritual in Motets for John the Baptist.” Early Music History, 2011. 1-54.
  • Bhoil, Shelly. 2017. Festa junina – the winter fest of brazil. Indian Express, Jun 28, 2017.


Scholarly/Secondary Sources:

  • Chisholm, Jennifer. “Festa junina and the Changing Meanings of Brazilian Rural Festivals in Urban Spaces.” Alter/nativas, no. 4 (2015).
  • Packman, Jeff. 2012. “The Carnavalização of São João: Forrós, Sambas and Festive Interventions during Bahia, Brazil’s festas juninas.” Ethnomusicology Forum 21, no. 3: 327-353.
  • Campos, Judas Tadeu de. 2007. Festas juninas nas escolas: Lições de preconceitos. Educação & Sociedade 589-606
  • Roth-Gordon, Jennifer. “Fears of Racial Contact: Crime, Violence, and the Struggle over Urban Space.” In Race and the Brazilian Body: Blackness, Whiteness, and Everyday Language in Rio De Janeiro, 95-127. Oakland, California: University of California Press, 2017.
  • Castro, Jânio Roque Barros. “The Promotion of Big Parties During the June Festivities in Private Arenas in Reconcavo Region: An Analytical Assessment.” GeoTextos, 2011.

Fixing Wikipedia’s Coverage of the Festa Junina

Alongside the start of winter comes the end of the rainy season in most of Brazil. To commemorate this event, Brazilians partake in a tradition originating from Portugal known as the Festa Junina, or June Festival. It commemorates the birth of St. John the Baptist and serves as a way to thank him for the past season of rain. Though this annual event spurs mass festivities across all of Brazil, Wikipedia’s English coverage of the topic is rather barren and unprofessional. The article is plagued by a general lack of information and poor formatting, despite being a national holiday with festivities comparable to that of Carnival. The English version of this page is in desperate need of improvement, as the lack of proper information is inhibited English speaking audiences from accessing information on Brazilian culture.

Specific mention of the English version of this page is made, as in Portuguese, it is a well-structured Wikipedia article. There are various subsections that go into detail about aspects of the festival, including clothing, dancing, cuisine, and the purpose of the fire pit, or fogueira. Each section is properly cited with credible sources, a template for what the English version ought to be. Unfortunately, an English-speaking audience is locked out of a proper general overview of the tradition, as the current page is simply four paragraphs with no subsections. There is only mention of clothing and dances, with only one link to another page on Brazilian culture, whereas in Portuguese there are links to articles that further explore each aspect of the festival.  In fixing this page, a helpful first step would be to borrow citations from the Portuguese page for the English page and translate them for a wider audience. This way, rather than being a vague explanation of a few cherry-picked ideas, the article can cover a wide variety of topics concerning an integral part of Brazilian culture.

Sources for a proposed editing of this page, as mentioned, would primarily arise from already established citations on the Portuguese version of this page. However, the point of this refurbishment is not to simply translate the Portuguese page. Rather, those sources will serve as a foundation for recreating this page. Along with that, some sources can be found online using the College of Wooster’s partnership with OhioLINK. These offer various criticisms surrounding the celebration, including the racial exclusivity underlying the festivals (Packman). This database already has various works which analyze and describe the culture and history surrounding the tradition. Even websites run by the Ohio State University offer articles surrounding the celebration of a rural lifestyle in an urban location (Chisholm). Reputable coverage of this events exists, the only issue is simply summarizing it into a properly formatted article, crediting each source of information properly.

Evidently there is already mass coverage on this event, but there are crucial reasons to give this topic such delicate attention. Not only is the Festa Juina celebrated throughout the entire country, but Brazil holds the record for having the largest celebration of Saint John in the world (Bastos). This is a festivity celebrated in Europe as well, so not only would this expand knowledge on Brazil, but it would also give insight into the European traditions themselves. The page itself is recognized by Wikipedia as being crucial to the understanding of Brazilian culture, as it has been added to “WikiProject Brazil” and “WikiProject Holidays”. Fixing the article would be contributing to a wider goal of spreading information about all of Brazilian culture. Doing so would also bring justice to the page, as it has been vandalized on more than one occasion. The talk page barely focuses on any of this however, as the only entries are from nearly a decade ago, followed by a single post asking a question that has yet to be properly answered with a reputable source. Helping alleviate the issues on this page would not only contribute to diversifying information for more users, but it would bring retribution to a page that has been ignored by the Wikipedia community.

The Festa Junina is an integral part of Brazilian culture. It gives insight into how Brazilians value their origins from rural farm life in a modernized age. To allow the coverage of such a vital topic on Wikipedia to remain vague and without citations is an injustice to a brilliantly intricate festivity. Thus, a plan has been set forth to repair the page and improve its status on Wikipedia, not only for English readers, but for the credibility of Wikipedia’s platform, and for Brazilians who hope to spread information of their culture.



  • Packman, Jeff. 2012. The carnavalização of são joão: Forrós, sambas and festive interventions during bahia, brazil’s festas juninas. Ethnomusicology Forum 21 (3): 327-53
  • Chisholm, Jennifer. “Festa junina and the Changing Meanings of Brazilian Rural Festivals in Urban Spaces.” Alter/nativas, no. 4 (2015).
  • Bastos, Ângela. “Na maior festa de São João do mundo, público chega a 1,5 milhão de pessoas.” NCS DC, June 25, 2011. https://goo.gl/WjFkUE.