São João de Caruaru. Capital of “Forró”

The biggest June festival in the world.

By Lucas Moretzsohn

Known as the Princesinha do Agreste (Princess of Agreste) or Capital do Forró (Capital of Forró), the city of Caruaru is located in the state of Pernambuco and has about 314,000 inhabitants. It is the state’s second most populated city, after the capital, Recife, located 135km from Caruaru.

Like all Brazilian northeastern cities, Caruaru is filled with many traditions, customs and cultural manifestations. The tradition which undoubtedly, draws attention to this 921 km2 town is the Saint John festivities. Every year, the party starts on June 1st and only ends on the last day of the month. Thirty days full of forró, typical food, square dancing, cordel literature and much more.

This year, the festival celebrates the centennial of Luiz Gonzaga, a famous popular Brazilian composer born in Recife and known as Rei do Baião. Among the invited singers to honour him, are two important names in the forró scenario: Elba Ramalho and Dominguinhos – who will perform at the opening of the festival. Singer Azulão will also be remembered. He is an important forró singer and composer. Born in Caruaru, Azulão will turn 70 years old and has a long career that started in June, 50 years ago.

Foto: http://portaldo3b.wordpress.com/

The whole city will join the party, but the place where all the fun happens is Pátio do Forró Luiz Gonzaga. This is where the main shows will take place including shows with several regional artists. At this location there used to be a village called “Vila do Forró”, where a typical northeastern village was replicated. However, in January 2011, the Village was demolished by the Caruaru City Hall for restoration. The project for the new construction is currently in its design phase.

Another great attraction at the party are the enormous servings of food, served on scheduled days. The menu offers the biggest pamonha (corn paste wrapped in corn husks), the biggest quentão (spiced alcoholic tea), the biggest corn cake, the biggest manioc cake, the biggest arroz doce (rice pudding), amongst other typical dishes served at the June festival, such as pé-de-moleque (peanut brittle), paçoca (crushed roasted peanuts), caldo verde (collard green soup) and canjica (a white corn dish).

The São João de Caruaru festivities have welcomed one and a half million visitors. Year after year, it attracts more and more visitors from different locations in Brazil and abroad. The northeastern musical rhythms, the food and typical dances as well as the northeastern colors turn the Saint John festivities in Caruaru into the biggest June party in the world.

Follow the latest official news on the festivities by visiting the website caruaru.com