Wednesday, June 18, 2008

São João

São João is rapidly approaching, the exact dates are June 23 and 24, although pretty much everyone will celebrate it all weekend long continuing on through Monday and Tuesday. There are some traditions that make this holiday unique, and one of them is called "guerra de espadas", which translates to "war of the fireworks".

Not every town has guerra de espadas, and some towns are famous for having lots of it. I have posted a Youtube video so that you can see what it looks like. And the music playing in this video is Forro music, which is the music of São João.

The town where I am going this year doesn´t have guerra de espadas, but last year I went to a town that does and got to see this spectacle up close and in person. And if you are thinking to yourself, "that looks dangerous", well it is! Every year people lose arms, legs, hands, feet, and there have been deaths. But this doesn´t seem to stop the tradition from happening, nor do signs posted saying "Proibido espada" (Espadas prohibited). People love it, and there is even folklore about how to stay safe during the guerra. Vilma told me that if you run away from an espada, it will follow you. It is better to stay in one place and jump over the espada if one comes your way. Luckily, when I did see it last year, I was far enough away so that I didn´t have to jump or run away.

While I prefer the other São João traditions- drinking homemade fruit liquor, dancing to Forro, eating roasted corn, and kicking it next to bonfires, I can also appreciate the beauty, danger, and mystery that surrounds the phenomenon that is called "guerra de espadas".

Happy São João!!!!

PS. I can´t figure out how to get rid of the second video screen...sorry!


Amy said...

Wow! Those are crazy.
I can't believe I managed to smuggle back those sparklers last year. I can't believe I've been back in the states for a year. I miss you!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Hey Charyl, cool blog, nice job making this, was thinking of you the other day, your name came up, Danika and some other people from youth builders were in the restaurant I was working in. Seems like you're up to good things, those squireel monkeys are cool. I want to see pictures of you and vilma. Just wondering what it's like for you there, do you still need to think before you speak portugese, do you feel at home yet? do you think you'll be there for a long time, just wondering, have a great summer, I'm just looking for social work jobs again, hurt my knee a few months back and haven't been training but hope to get back soon. Been dating someone, it's been good. I don't think you're suppose to write this much on blogs, but jsut wanted to say hi, take care, Kristen