Dança de São Gonçalo (São Gonçalo Dance) takes place in Juquitiba, Santa Isabel, São José dos Campos, Joanópolis, Atibaia, Piracaia and in many others cities throughout the state. People position themselves in front of the saint's altar to pay promises, and the party begins with a prayer that everybody sings together, without instruments, started by the chaplain (a person who knows the hymns and sings well). During the dance, guitar players, specially invited for the occasion, sing.
São Benedito, a popular saint, is celebrated in many cities, among which Aparecida, where folkloric groups such as Moçambiques, Congadas, Marujadas, Catopés, and Cabeções, gather. The Cavalaria de São Benedito (Cavalry of São Benedito) also takes part: a parade of about 500 knights, dressed in white, riding their horses. Groups singing and dancing their own music follow the processions that take the saint's image. People eat a typical dish called "afogado". In the Corpus Christi party, people make rugs of flowers with religious themes that cover the streets through which the procession passes. The population gathers to work together and makes use of several materials such as petals, sawdust, crushed glass, coffee powder, eggshells, and bottle lids. Other cities famous for the rugs made by the population during these typical celebrations are Matão, São Manuel and Santana do Parnaíba.
In April, there is the pilgrimage to Bom Jesus de Pirapora, when thousands of people riding their horses, chariots, bikes, nowadays some of them riding their cars and motorbikes, and also on foot, go to the sanctuary of Bom Jesus to ask God to protect the crops and to thank him for his blessings. Caravans leave the neighborhood of Santo Amaro, in the capital. The largest number of visitors come from Caucaia do Alto.
On May 13th, people celebrate the abolishment of slavery in Cotia, where several groups gather, such as Congadas, Moçambiques, and Marujadas. People follow a procession headed by a character representing Princess Isabel. This historical event is also celebrated in the city of Tietê, with the Batuque dance.
There are also a number of religious parties for saints and deities from the African culture: umbanda and candomblé, the most important of which, the Iemanjá party, who is the divinity of the sea, celebrated on December 8th, in Praia Grande: a great pilgrimage followed by religious people pay tribute to the queen of the sea by throwing offerings to the sea and performing rituals on the beach. Ibejis or Erês, children's protectors (represented by Cosme and Damião) are also celebrated in September, mainly in the capital city.
The folklore of São Paulo is full of parties - both religious and secular ones - celebrated through dances, theatre, music, processions, special food, costumes etc. It would be impossible to list all of them due to the dynamic characteristics of our culture.
Festa Peão de Boiadeiro
This event deserves special attention. During 10 days, the city of Barretos, in São Paulo, becomes the world's largest country city. Barretos is 438 kilometers far from São Paulo and 127 kilometers far from Ribeirão Preto. The biggest rodeo party in the world offers more than rodeos. The diversity of this event, in which millions of dollars are invested, is amazing. By gathering folkloric, cultural, artistic, commercial and sport attractions, Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro de Barretos attracts more than 800 thousand people who occupy all available hotels and hostels in an area that stretches out over an area of 150 kilometers. People from all over Brazil and also from foreign countries dress like cowboys and cowgirls and occupy the local stadium, which has a capacity for 35,000 people, as well as Parque do Peão, which stretches out over 1,440,000 square meters, and where there are stores selling different types of products, food fairs with replicas of famous restaurants, theme parks, markets and disco clubs.
Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro began in 1956 and, for the last 48 years, it has become a tradition in the countryside of São Paulo, in addition to helping foster the country style nationwide. Famous for handling huge amounts of money, rodeos have opened up new opportunities for a number of contests where prizes go from hats to brand new expensive cars, in addition to prizes in cash that may reach R$ 100 thousand for a sole winner.