June is a party month!


June is a fun-filled month, be it in Brazil or the UK because it’s party time!

The cause for such celebration, naturally, varies from country to country. In Brazil, for example, the festivals in June celebrate three popular saints from Portugal, the country that colonised Brazil, St. Anthony (13 June), St. John (24 June) and St. Peter (29 June).

The festivities take place in spaces called “arraiás” and are set up in public spaces such as schools, squares, churches or clubs. Coloured flags, balloons and a bonfire are all must-have items, as are stalls offering typical food and games.

In Brazil, children are taught at school how to celebrate the festas juninas (June festivals). They dress up in typical clothes to perform a dance routine in front of the gathered families. During the intervals between performances, people enjoy the games, be it fishing for candy, sending secret love messages etc. And since such fun and games builds up an appetite, there is nothing better than munching on the traditional snacks: ”pé de moleque” (Brazilian peanut brittle), corn cake, ”canjica” (a white corn sweet), mulled wine,  Brazilian tamales and more!

The festas juninas may only culminate in a one day event, as is common, but in some places, such as Campina Grande, the parties are stretched out over a month. In this northeast city, located in the state of Paraíba, the world’s largest St. John’s festival is celebrated by approximately one million people every year.

For most, the festas juninas are synonymous with joyous, colourful nights…and lots of snacking! That’s why I want to share a delicious recipe with you from the bilingual recipe book Sou chef! I am a chef!. Let your kids help prepare this delicacy with you and let a bit of Brazilian party time into your home. Take the time to catch up with friends and listen to some Brazilian music while enjoying some sweet peanut praline. Learning about a culture is much more fun and interesting when we use all our five senses!

Peanut praline
(requires the help of an adult)

4 cups of peeled peanuts
1 cup of water
½ cup of chocolate powder
1 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Mix all the ingredients in a deep pan with a thick base. Simmer at medium temperature until the paste sticks to the peanuts. Remove the pot from the stove and pour the contents onto a tray. Then place the tray in the oven to dry.



About Author

LETICIA PONTES, 37, is from São Paulo capital and has lived in Stockholm, Sweden since 2004. She is a lawyer registered at the Brazilian Bar Association after having finished her studies at the PUC-SP. Since 2010 she has worked with image consulting and intercultural communication. In her multicultural family, where 3 different languages are spoken and easily mixed, it is the meals between beloved ones that is responsible for teaching all of them about the culture beyond the languages. Since June 2015, when she became Martin´s mother, she dedicates herself along with her husband to raising their son to become a world citizen.