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BRAZIL

Traditional celebrations and Brazilian Folklore are among the richest and most expressive of the world, appearing in songs, legends, dances, beliefs, and literature. The mixture of Indigenous, Negro, and Caucasian races forms the Brazilian Nation, creating an intense diversity in folkloric events all over the country.
The numerous traditions in Brazilian Folklore are so numerous that they sometimes interfere with the day to day life of the population. The phases of the moon, for example, determine when to plant and when to sow. Some folkloric traditions of Brazil spill out over the borders, drawing a large number of tourists from all over the world to visit.

In the North and Northeastern region of the country, "Bumba-meu-Boi," is a part of the cultural calendar. A traditional game in regional June Square Dancing Parties, "Bumba" includes characters dressed as Cowboys and Indians dancing and singing to the sound of zabumbas, matracas, and pandeiros, traditional musical instruments.

The Folklore Festival of Parintins, a city in the State of Amazonas, is the major spectacular of the region, with a theme of a dispute between two groups of "Bumba-meu-Boi." In Pirenopolis, a historic city in the State of Goias, the celebration of the Holy Ghost, known as the Mounted Pilgrinage, is based on the historical conversion battles between the Christians and the Moors. In Rio Grande do Sul, the strong tradition of the "Fandangos," or "Campground Parties," include tap dancing to the sound of regional music. The "Party of the Kings," in honor of the Three Wise Men who announce the Messiah's Birth, is on the holiday calendar of numerous regions of the country.

In Bahia, in the Northeast, religious syncretism is practiced at the Our Father of Bonfim celebrations, with the washing of the church steps and the statuette, to celebrate Our Lady of the Winds and Storms, Iemanjá, who receives flowers at high tide.

Brazilian folklore is present in theater, in popular skits, in music, with children's songs and lullabyes, and in such traditional dances as Frevo, Maracatu, Maxixe, Folia de Reis and the Congada. It is visible as well in the wardrobe of the traditional Bahian costume and the Maracatu and Chula dancers.

Imaginary characters from Brazilian folklore are a great part of the popular imagination. Characters like Saci Perere, the one legged street urchin from the Gaucho prairies, are as well known as the Wolfman, who transforms into a monster during the full moon, and Boto, the pink dolphin who appears in the waters of the Amazon and turns into a handsome young man who seduces the young women.

In all of its many forms, folklore is an evident part of the Brazilian environment.

The largest and most popular celebration in Brazil is Carnival. For three days and nights, the country turns around the merrymaking of King Momo. The most well known Carnival Celebration in the world is in Rio de Janeiro, with its dazzling, seemingly never ending parade of Samba schools. Also well known are the numerous celebrations that take place in the Northeastern region, especially in Bahia, where the huge Electric Show Trucks, a Bahian invention, blast their music and drive through the streets of the city, followed by the eager crowds.

In contrast to the heady days of Carnival, Brazilians reverently celebrate religious holidays. In Belem, in Para, around 2 million people participate in "Cirio", a procession of faith that takes place in honor of Our Lady of Nazareth.

In the North and Northeastern regions, the traditional June Square Dance parties preserve the culture of the heartland with square dancing, a traditional dance called Forro, and a satire of country ways, including a shot gun wedding. These lively parties take place around a huge bonfire, and traditional food is enjoyed by all.

In the South of the country, popular celebrations revive the customs and culture of the immigrants who came to Brazil. Oktoberfest, a traditional beer festival that takes place in the city of Blumenau, in Santa Catarina, includes typical German dances and costumes. In Rio Grande do Sul, dozens of parties take place in honor of the Gaucho tradition and their European ancestors.

Valda Maria Costa e Silva
School: Centro Interescolar de Línguas de Taguatinga and Ability Instituto de Línguas Taguatinga - Brasilia, Brazil.

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