By Monica Trentini
June is a lively month in Brazil. Many of you will be invited to a Festa Junina, where you will eat Brazilian sweets and drink Quentão, a warm drink made with pinga or Vinho Quente, a warm spicy wine. Children dress up like country bumpkins and play typical games and win prizes.

One of the highlights of a Festa Junina is a quadrilha” which is a type of square dance with sometimes over twenty participants. A “couple” getting married leads the other couples in the quadrilha. Their wedding ceremony is only one part of a complex dance. The groom always runs away and is often brought back by an angry father of the bride. It is quite a spectacle. Sometimes, the participants even switch roles, the girls dressed up as boys and the boys as girls. This makes the quadrilha even funnier. The cool June weather calls for bonfires. Colorful flags are strung up and paper hot-air balloons are released into the sky. The fun continues on into the night.

Where did this idea come from? Why is it a part of Brazilian culture? Portuguese and Spanish settlers celebrating the harvest and worshipping saints brought these parties to Brazil.

Although it has become a commercialized party, the traditional Festa Junina is still celebrated in the Northeast and in rural communities, where Catholic people commemorate their favorite saints. These saints’ statues are hoisted onto shoulders and paraded through town on their special day. Three saints are commemorated in June: Santo Antnio de Pdua (Saint Anthony) the patron saint of weddings (13/06), São João Batista (Saint John), the saint who is a model for a perfect life (24/06), and São Pedro (Saint Peter), who guards the pearly gates of heaven (29/06). During these June parties, it has been customary for couples to take advantage of the festivities to get married. The Festa Junina you might attend here in São Paulo (or in any other urban area) is a reenactment that does not necessarily include religion and is just for fun. Schools, clubs and churches host these parties.

The largest Festa Junina in Brazil is in Campina Grande, Paraiba. Tourists enjoy this typical party. Are you interested in a fun vacation spot in June? Look into it.

I started out researching for this column by looking for interesting Festa Junina recipes for you to follow and make typical foods such as Maria Mole, Rapadura, Pamonha, pé de Moleque, Paoca, Sweet and Salty popcorn, Cotton Candy (Algodão Doce), Churrasco, Cural de Milho, Milho Verde, Canjica, Doce de Abobora, Doce de Amendoim, Cocada, and many others. However, I happened upon some other very interesting recipes which do not always require food. These recipes are called “Simpatias” and they are not followed to nourish the stomach, but to nourish the soul. Now, this is some interesting stuff. I chose some good ones, which might be useful to you. Simpatias are made all year long, but women who would like to get married on Santo Antonio’s day follow these recipes to increase their chances not to always be the aunt, so to speak.

How to win the man you want
Take a piece of white paper and put it on a plate. Draw a heart the size of the bottom of the plate. Cut out the heart and write the name of the man you want on the fist three lines. On the next three lines, write your name. Place the heart on the plate, pour some honey on it, with some white rose petals. Light a white candle in the middle of the plate and let it burn out completely. When the candle has burnt out, think strongly of the man you want. Save the plate for seven days. Wash the rose petals and put them in a book. The plate with the heart should be left in a garden where there are thorny plants.

How to have a peaceful pregnancy
Take a bootie and put three candies in it. Take it to a garden and ask to have a peaceful pregnancy. After the birth of the baby, take the other bootie and put three candies in it. Take it into a garden and give thanks for having achieved your goal.
How to always have enough money in your wallet
Make a small bag with the cloth and put 3 grains of chicken corn and 3 coins of any value in it. Place this bag in your wallet.

To make you happier
Cook 6 handfuls of rice until it is nice and soft. On 6 small pieces of white paper, write your wishes that should make you happy. Make 6 balls with the rice, not forgetting to place a piece of paper in each one. Place them on the plate with plenty of sugar. Leave this in your house for 6 days and later place it in an empty lot.
How to get a good empregada
Wash a new picture of São Benedito with water and dry it off. The picture should be placed in your kitchen next to a cup with water and a piece of salsa. Make your wish and each time the salsa gets wilted, change it and the water as well. When you get the empregada, write her name at the feet of São Benedito. This picture should stay in your kitchen for a long time. Don’t forget to change the water and the salsa frequently.
For your husband to remain in love with you forever
Put a piece of paper with your name and your husband’s written on it on a plate on top of 3 quindins and some honey. Make your wish and keep it in your house overnight. Later, put it in a garden.
Other recipes include:
– To not have problems at work
– To have less hair loss
– To keep people from being jealous of your house

Monica Trentini was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and was raised in Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro. She lives in São Paulo with her Brazilian husband and two children. She has a cookie business, making and selling baked cookies, cookie dough and festive pizza-size cookies. If you would like more information, or if you have any comments on the article, please contact Monica Trentini at 3739-2599, 8111-5920 or cookiedoughtogo@yahoo.com