The folia de reis is a popular Brazilian tradition of folk Catholicism that involves a group of participants who, between Christmas and Ephiphany, go in a journey asking for alms for social-religious purposes. The tradition refers to musical ensembles comprising predominantly low-income rural workers from various regions of Brazil. Instrumentalists, singers, and other participants travel from house to house and farm to farm, singing and praising the birth pf Christ. The folia de reis celebrates and renacts the Biblical journey of the Three Kings to Bethlehem. The folia de reis under investigation in my research is a tradition that traces its origins back to colonial Brazil and to the Iberian Peninsula. As groups travel from Christmas Eve through Epiphany (January 6), their singing journey blesses the families, which they visit in exchange for food or money. Often classified as "popular Catholicism" (Catholic ritual practice external to the interests of the Catholic Church), the folia de reis is quite widely diffused in the southern, central, and northern regions of Brazil.

Welson Tremura

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