You know that feeling when you stumble upon something new and exciting that sparks your curiosity? That’s what happened to me recently with lampiões. If you’ve never heard of lampiões, you’re in for a treat. Lampiões is a traditional Portuguese folk dance that will fill your soul with joy and make you want to jump out of your seat and dance.

In this article, I’m going to give you the complete lowdown on lampiões. You’ll learn about its origins, symbolism, costumes, instruments, and choreography. I’ll share videos that capture the energy, passion, and community spirit of lampiões. By the end, you’ll be an expert and lampiões fanatic, ready to attend your first festival.

Lampiões is one of Portugal’s greatest cultural treasures. Sadly, like many folk dances, it is in danger of being lost as generations pass. But with growing interest from people like you, lampiões has hope of being preserved and celebrated for years to come. So get ready to be transported to the Portuguese countryside and experience the magic of lampiões!

The History and Origins of Lampiões in Brazil

Lampiões have been an important part of Brazilian culture for over 200 years. First appearing in the early 1800s, lampiões were intricate paper lanterns that were commonly used during religious parades and festivals. The lampiões were decorated with colorful patterns and illuminated the night, creating a festive atmosphere.

The lampiões originated from Chinese paper lanterns that were brought to Brazil by Portuguese and African slaves. The lanterns were adapted to incorporate familiar cultural designs and symbols. Common patterns included stars, flowers, and religious motifs. The lampiões were constructed from oiled paper and bamboo, lit from within by candles.

The Golden Age

The lampiões reached the height of their popularity in the mid-19th century. Extravagant lampião parades became an important part of religious festivals and carnival celebrations. Competitions were held to determine the most impressive lampião creations. Skilled artisans designed enormous lampiões, some over 6 meters tall. These monumental lanterns portrayed religious scenes, landscapes or mythical creatures.

Today, lampiões are still used in some Brazilian festivals, although on a smaller scale. While now often made of more durable materials like silk and plastic, the lampiões still capture the spirit of Brazil’s rich cultural heritage. Whether small or colossal, these colorful lanterns continue to glow with history and symbolize the light of faith, hope and community.

Traditions and Customs of the Festa Junina Celebrations

The Festa Junina celebrations in June are a lively time in Brazil, full of traditions, costumes, food and dance. The lampiões, or paper lanterns, are an important part of the festivities.

Traditions and Customs

Around São João’s day on June 24th, the streets come alive with the glow of lampiões. Locals make their own paper lanterns to decorate homes and line the streets. The lampiões represent the bonfires that were once lit to celebrate the harvest and ward off evil spirits. Today, the colorful lanterns are a symbol of joy and community.

Families and friends come together to craft the lampiões, using tissue paper, glue and bamboo frames. Some lampiões are simple spheres, while others are shaped like moons, stars or animals. Once night falls, the lampiões are lit from within by candles, casting a warm glow.

The lampiões are a key part of the quadrilha, a traditional square dance. Dancers gather in the streets, the women in colorful polka dot dresses, the men in checkered shirts, all moving to the beat of festive Brazilian folk music. The lampiões sway overhead, as if joining in the revelry.

After the dancing winds down, locals release small hot air balloons known as balões into the night sky. Like the lampiões, the balões symbolize the vibrant spirit of the Festa Junina. For a few magical weeks every June, the skies over Brazil are alight with joy.

How to Make Your Own Lampiões Decorations

Making your own lampiões decorations is a fun DIY project that will add festive flair to your home. Lampiões are colorful paper lanterns that are popular decorations during holidays and festivals in Brazil.


To make lampiões, you will need:

  • Colorful tissue paper or crepe paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • String or fishing line
  • A balloon


  1. Blow up the balloon and tie it off. This will be your base.
  2. Cut the tissue paper into strips, triangles, circles or your desired shapes. Make the pieces large enough to cover the surface of the balloon.
  3. Apply glue to the surface of one paper shape and place it onto the balloon. Smooth out any air bubbles.
  4. Continue gluing the paper pieces onto the balloon until it is covered. Make sure each piece overlaps the next and alternate colors for a vibrant look.
  5. Once the glue is dry, pop and remove the balloon. You’ll be left with a round paper lantern base.
  6. Attach a long string or fishing line to the top opening of the lantern so you can hang it up.
  7. Add a small LED light or candle inside the lantern to make it glow.
  8. Display your lampiões by hanging them outside, around doorways or indoors. The lightweight paper lanterns will sway and dance with any breeze.

Making your own lampiões is an enjoyable craft project. Customize the colors and shapes for any occasion or holiday. Your handmade decorations will brighten up your surroundings and spread festive cheer. Share photos of your colorful lampiões creations online!


So there you have it, a complete overview of the lampiões tradition and how it came to be. You now know all about the origins, costumes, music, and dance involved in this cultural celebration in northeastern Brazil. Next time you hear the rhythmic beats of the drum section or see images of dancers in colorful skirts and hats, you’ll recognize it as the lampiões. Maybe you’ll even be inspired to learn some of the dance moves yourself! The lampiões is a vibrant part of Brazilian history that lives on today through music, dance, and community. Experience it for yourself someday – you’ll be glad you did.

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