The colors of the Feira de São Cristovão

Cordel literature at Feira de São Cristovão
Cordel literature at Feira de São Cristovão

In Rio de Janeiro there’s a place dedicated to the rich culture of the northeast region of Brazil. It’s called Feira de São Cristovão. Even before the inauguration of the pavilion, people used to gather there to eat traditional food and dance to the sound of the concertina. The place was not safe though. Street fights weren’t rare and eventually, someone would draw a knife. Most people avoided the place.

After the construction of the pavilion, the market grew and prospered. It’s pretty safe nowadays. On the weekend families usually go there for lunch. It’s a good place to buy souvenirs at a cheap price and eat delicious food. The entrance costs 5 reais.
 
Folk rugs and quilts
Folk rugs and quilts
Folk rugs and quilts
Crafts from northeast of Brazil
Crafts from northeast of Brazil
Spices and Sweets from northeast of Brazil

I visited the Feira de São Cristovão on June 24th, St John’s Day (also known as Midsummer in some Northern countries). Inside, a maze of narrow corridors with stalls selling foods and crafts. The smell of grilled cheese filled the air. The place was even more vibrant than on ordinary days. Colorful flags decorated the ceilings. There was loud music flowing from speakers everywhere. Each one was playing a different song. Because of that, the music I was hearing changed every few steps. Although it was in the middle of winter the place was hot.

Colorful flags
Feira de São Cristovão pavilion
Colorful flags

There are some restaurant options inside with air conditioning, which is an essential asset during the summer months. When I arrived at noon the place wasn’t crowded yet. I could easily find a table for lunch at Barraca da Chiquita. I ate a traditional dish, Carne-de-sol (dried beef) with cassava and Baião-de-dois (mix of beans and rice).

Traditional food from northeast of Brazil
Decor at traditional restaurant
Traditional restaurant

As customary in St John’s Day celebrations, there was square dancing. Little kids dressed in folk costume held hands in front of the stage. The girls were wearing pretty colorful dresses and the boys were wearing plaid shirts, jeans, and straw hats. 

Kids square dancing
Girls square dancing
Kids square dancing
Girls in folk dresses
Girl in folk dress
Girl in folk dress

On another stage, a folk singer animated the crowd. Couples danced to the beat of Forró, a rhythm very popular in Brazil’s Northeast. Throughout June, celebrations like this happen all over the country. 

Show at Feira de São Cristovão


Also published on Medium.

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