Samstag, 22. Juni 2013


My second last day at the Media Centre was to start today. Unfortunately…

After a rather difficult and unsatisfying start I became to feel very well during the course of the week. Our group of about 51 Media Volunteers is a good, very well mixed team with a positive Brazilian attitude. Yes, we had some organizational issues but we were able to jointly solve them. So we also did for todays’ as well as tomorrows’ planning. Next to the 12 “lost” volunteers we had quite some sick people today. Happily there were only a few media people in the Media Centre, and also during the trainings and press conferences it was rather “quiet”. Uruguay and Tahiti for sure are not the most interesting countries when we talk about football.

Some of our Media volunteers mainly worked underground in the SMC this week. So we agreed to also give them a chance to be nearer to the game and to the players. All available volunteers were planned for the 3rd match day, starting to work either at 9am or 11am. And I really hope everybody is happy now with his / her allocation and can enjoy our last Confederations Cup day.

During the day we again were sitting in the dark. For a period of time we had no electricity in the Media Centre. I think it happened almost every day this week. It might be interesting to think about it to start a business in Brazil with generators or solar energy. Brazil seems to have the same problem as South Africa. Why didn’t anyone start such a business yet…?? I really will make my mind up about this, might be an interesting investment for the future!

While we have our last match tomorrow, followed in the evening by a volunteer party, there is also a big celebration all day in Pernambuco. San Juan (like St. Jan in my place of birth Herkenbosch, the end of the asparagus time which is at my home place still celebrated with the St Jan market and different festivities). The Night of San Juan is a festival of pagan origin, not very old, often linked to light fires or fireworks, linked with celebrations in which they celebrated the arrival of the summer solstice, even though this is June 21 in the northern hemisphere, whose principal rite is a fire. The purpose of this ritual was "giving more power to the sun", that from those days, was becoming "weaker", the days are getting shorter until the winter solstice. Symbolically fire also has a function of "cleansing" in people watching him. It is celebrated in many parts of Europe, but is particularly strong in Spain, Portugal (Fogueiras de São João), Norway (Jonsok), Denmark (Sankthans), Sweden (Midsummer), Finland (Juhannus), Estonia (Jaanipäev) and the UK (Midsummer). In South America, Brazil has Juninas Festas, in Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru and Venezuela it’s the night of San Juan. The Night of San Juan is, also, related to ancient traditions and legends, in Spain known as the Legend of the Enchanted.
In many places there is no doubt that the current celebrations have a direct connection with the celebrations of old linked to the summer solstice, influenced by pre-Christian rites or simply linked to the cycles of nature.
However, in other places (eg Spain and Portugal) the existence of a link between the celebration of the summer solstice (in the northern hemisphere), which takes place June 20-21 and the celebration of St. John's Day (the June 24) vary depending on the dates, the discontinuity in the celebration, traditions and customs, etc..
Nevertheless, there are common elements such as the realization of bonfires in the streets and squares of the towns where family and friends gather.
Linking the rites connected with the summer solstice with another popular and fairly widespread celebration of the month of June, the "festivals of San Pedro" (June 29), is even less clear.

Unfortunately we will not be able to enjoy these San Juan festivities. Everyone however who is going to visit Recife during next year’s World Cup should see to join this day. According to the local people it is quite as big as carnival, people are traditionally dressed and all Recife and especially Olinda is dancing and partying on the streets.

Let’s hope and pray we will have electricity all day tomorrow! The volunteer crew for sure is prepared for their last excitements during this year’s Confederations Cup!

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