Recife culture

Recife culture, Festa Junina

Recife is one of the cities in Brazil that has a very rich culture. It is heavily influenced by Portuguese culture, being its early colonizers. It also has a hint of black culture which is a result of a great number of black slaves coming to the region during the time of the sugarcane industry.




Recife is a predominantly Catholic city. Majority of the people living in Recife are Catholics. This comprises 68% of the entire population. Protestants come in next comprising 23.78% of the population.


Catholicism dates back from the time of the Portuguese colony. During the time of the Dutch occupation though, the city of Recife became home to the first ever Jewish community. During this time, Recife also became home to Latin America’s first synagogue. However, when the Dutch was driven off by the locals during the resistance a lot of Jews fled the city.




Recife celebrates a number of festivals all throughout the year. Most of the celebrations were influenced by the Portuguese during the colonization of the city.


One of such celebrations is the Festa Junina or the Saint John Festival. Saint John’s day is observed every June 24 but the Saint John Festival is celebrated in the entire month of June. It starts with on the eve of the day of Saint Anthony on June 12 and ends on the day of Saint Peter on June 29. The fifteen day celebration includes street dancing, fireworks display, bonfires and costume wearing.


Recife also has its own Carnival celebration. This is observed starting four days before Lent up until Ash Wednesday. Recife, as well as its neighbor city Olinda, is the city in Brazil that holds the most authentic Carnival celebrations. The highlight of the event is the Galo da Madrugada.


The city also celebrates a Cinema Festival which is a venue for local feature films, short films, documentaries and videos to be showcased to the locals of the city and the state. This is called the Cine-PE or Recife Audiovisual Festival and it takes place on the last week of April or May.




Frevo is a regional music that is popular in Recife, especially during the Carnival. It has its influences from Afro-Brazilian and European culture, like the different type of music that originated in Brazil. Frevo in its earlier form was heard in polkas, and in jogos pastoris or stick and rope patterns.


Maracatu is another type is music that is popular in the city. It has evolved and the Mangue Beat which is a combination of Maracatu with other types of music, Ciranda and Rap being some of them.