Folia de Reis is a popular Brazilian commemoration of the journey of the biblical Magi. The tradition is supposed to come from Spain and Portugal. The commemoration lasts 12 days, from 24th of December to 6th of January, day when the Magi arrived in Belem. In Rio de Janeiro, it lasts some more day, until the 20th of January, day of São Sebastian, patron saint of the city.
The commemoration consists in a parade of musicians and so-called clowns, masked men representing the evil. It is common for groups of Folia de Reis to visit the houses of their region, playing music and dancing to celebrate both the birth of Jesus and the meeting with the three wise men. Normally, in Rio de Janeiro, Folia de Reis takes place in the favelas.
Clowns has been a constant element in the Folia. According to the Folia' own explanation, the masked men represent evil, being the embodiment of Herod's soldiers or the devil himself.
The clowns run after the children trying to catch them. Everything becomes a great game, the children are mischievous and the clowns beat their stick on the ground to scare them make them escape.