Jun 25, 2010

Most beautiful folkloric event : the Cavalhadas of Pirenópolis:

by Antonella Kann

Chances are you ( and most of the Brazilians) never heard about this event. It´s called the Cavalhadas and it´s been happening for more than a century in a little colonial town called Pirenópolis, in the state of Goiás, only 140 kilometers from Brasilia.

This is one of the most genuine folkloric Brazilian festivity, which takes place in May, right after the Festa do Divino, another popular event which attracts visitors from all over the state.

The Cavalhadas is a dramatic representation of the war between the Moors and the Christians, and the “armies” simulate a medieval battle in a open-air arena. The show is free for anyone to attend.

Unfortunately, as there´s not much publicity in the press or tv, it ends up being quite tourist-free. Which is good in a in way, as the place don´t get packed as Carnival, for instance.

But on the other side, it´s a pity that the Cavalhadas, although very traditional, have been kept as a regional secret for decades. I would even say that it´s a shame, as it´s very colorful, authentic, alive and impossibly beautiful.

You will be walking down the cobbled stone streets of Pirenópolis and bump into one of those characters...

The “soldiers” from both the Moors and the Christian sides will be riding around the town, in their garnments, as well as dozens of masked riders strolling the streets on all sorts of horses and donkeys, causing a paraphernalia which is impossible to describe.

The people who are participating in the event are always very friendly and will tolerate your presence while tending their animals. And will even offer you a beer. By the way, this is also the land of the cachaça. There are more than a hundred types waiting for you in several small bars. And, as you´re likely to be using your feet instead of your car ( which should definitely be left in the parking lot of your pousada!) feel free to go wild!

The atmosphere is simply… fantastic. It´s unbelievable how imagination works for these people!

After gazing at all sorts of characters, you can also amuse yourself by digging into antiques shops offering furniture and delicious old bric-à-brac. And, of course, there are the traditional small stores selling all sorts of regional artifacts.

On the day of the “battle”, instead of getting into the stadium very early, try to spot the “armies” getting ready for the event. The making-off starts at dawn, usually around 4 o´clock in the morning. It goes on until the show begins.

But let´s talk about Pirenópolis for a change, an attractive colonial town in itself, with small but comfortable pousadas and good restaurants.

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