Recife city and the surrounding region are home to some of Brazil’s most authentic and democratic festivals and events.
In Pernambuco, the month of June comes with cheerful nights decorated with bonfires, fireworks, and colourful balloons. This month is celebrated with popular religious festivals in honour of famous saints. The festivals are celebrated as a homage to Saints Anthony (13th June) in Recife, Saint John’s and ‘Bacamarteiro’ (23rd June) in Caruaru and Acorda-Povo’ (‘Wake the People’) Procession Bandeira de Sao Joao (23rd June) in Recife. Fisherman’s festival also takes place on 28th June by the parade in the honour of Saint Peter in various seaside towns.
During the festival of Nossa Senhora do Pilar, all local water carriers, i.e. rafts, launches and canoes, are ornamented with colourful flags and various types of flowers. The festival of the island’s patron saint, Nossa Senhora do Pilar, is the climax of this event. The maritime procession carries the saint’s image, and the march crosses the stands in the sea. At this festival, folk dancing, bands and the unique ‘bumba-meu-boi’ enjoyments go on for the whole night. The event is held in January.
Carnival in Recife (Pernambuco) is something that should not be missed. The carnival time, i.e. the four-day festive period from Lent up to Ash Wednesday, is celebrated throughout Brazil. However, the large celebrations are in Pernambuco with Frevo, and Maracatu music, rhythms, dances, and street parties are just unforgettable. This carnival is enjoyed more authentically and the democratic way in Recife than in any other city in Brazil. Galo da Madrugada and Noite dos Tambores Silenciosos are the highlights, and it attracts thousands of people. Entertainment during the carnival includes music, rhythms, dances, street parties and parades with traditional themes and dresses.
This festival is celebrated with Ciranda, which is a ring dance of male and female participants. This dance is enjoyed with the alternate joining of hands of males and females. They follow different dance steps alongside the sound of a music collection and live drumbeats. It is hosted at Jaguaribe Beach on weekends throughout July. The various groups show their skill in a thirty-minute presentation, and the grand finale for the qualified groups are arranged on the last day of this festival.
This festival takes place in Princesa do Agreste, located about 130km from Recife, in May. In this festival, many cowboys participate in ‘downing the steers’ and the viola players and verse improvisers playing music alongside. Local cuisine and drinks are also served during the celebrations. The event starts on 29th May which attracts over a half million people. This festival offers a wide range of entertainment such as fireworks, parades, exhibitions, music bands, shows and dancing for locals and visitors.
In the courtyard of the National Historical Park dos Guararapes, every year, after the Holy Week, the traditional festival of Nossa Senhora dos Prazeres is held. Nationally this festival is known as Festa da Pitomba due to the fruit of ‘Pitomba’ produced in the region. The celebration begins on 16th March and ends on 24th March. During these nine days, tropical fruits are sold in the region. Festivities include badalação of concerts of various singers and bands where entry is free for visitors.