In the Mediterranean countries of Europe, the Fiesta de San Juan (Saint John) falls on the summer solstice, and is celebrated with bonfires. Across the Atlantic, Rio extends this June festival to include Saint Anthony and Saint Peter as well.
The June Bonfire Festivals have a theme of country-style merrymaking. Everyone dresses up in country-style costumes, there's folkloric games and dancing and children performing square dances to the accordion or the infectious beat of traditional folk music. On these three separate evenings, right across Rio, in the streets, squares and public places, stalls are laid out to resemble village market places and are decorated with colourful bunting and lanterns. Against the blaze of bonfires there is much dancing, eating and drinking. Mock weddings are also held, where couples leap the bonfire flames as fireworks crackle and flash in the background.
Rio de Janeiro is an enchanting destination at any time of year, with a beautiful natural setting of rainforests and Sugarloaf Mountain, the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema, lively samba clubs, a football fetish and colourful bohemian arts scene.
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