Fortaleza and its healthy diversity

by Daniela Tamara Fernández*


Fortaleza, known as the Land of Light, is the capital city of Ceará State. It is the entrance port to Brazilian northeastern beaches. Beira Mar Walkway and Iracema Beach are landmarks here. The natural beauties of neighboring beaches, such as “Praia do Futuro” (Future Beach), “Porto da Dunas” (Dune Port), “Canoa Quebrada” (Broken Canoe), “Morro Branco” (White Mountain), and Jericoacoara are among other natural paradises. Due to the natural characteristics of the city, strongly contracting to the instate region of Ceará State, mainly marked by the extensive characteristic brownish soil of the “sertão” (semiarid backwoods).

During my time living in this city, the beaches as well as the climate are very surprising as the tropical temperature is pleasant, and very windy, ranging from 18 to 35 degrees Celsius almost all year round. This warm weather impacts the residents here, as the happiness and warmth of the people are marked by their; solidarity, receptiveness, hospitality, and infectious sense of humor.

It is complex to speak about Fortaleza in the singular, as there are multiple and diverse Fortalezas. It is a heterogeneous, diverse, and plural city characterized by the diversity of social, economic, and cultural realities, where all worlds fit, in a limited manner, sometimes there are evident contrasting inequalities. That brings about one of its consequences that is most latent to security.

Cultural movement is plural and intense throughout the year, yet it becomes intensified in flow and activities in the Carnival period and during the months of June and July, due to the traditional “June Festival” including traditional dance exhibitions and even characteristic cuisine during the festivities. The large cultural center, named “Dragão do Mar” (Sea Dragon) is the main location where different tribes meet.

The cultural circuit of the city is focused on rhythm, especially on “forró” (a traditional Northeastern Brazilian dance) accompanied by samba, “chorinho” (instrumental Brazilian music), tango, and other rhythms to gladden the heart.

It is also worthwhile to highlight the countless culinary delights. Notably, some of my favorite are: sun-dried beef, beef jerky, green beans, tapioca, curd cheese, “manteiga da terra” (a clarified butter product), “rapadura” (panela — an unrefined sugar candy), cashew, and many other flavors in tune with harmonious smells and textures.

*Daniela Tamara Fernández was born in Argentina and has lived in Fortaleza since 2015