Carnival

Carnival in Brazil

Brazil is known for many things:  Rio, race car drivers, beautiful people, and of course on that list is Carnival.

Although it is known as the Mardi Gras of the southern hemisphere, there really is no accurate analog to Brazil’s Carnival.  Brazil’s Carnival is a week-long party held throughout the country.  The whole country shuts down, from Baker to Banker, very little work is done during Carnival week.  “Carnival” is thought to have originated from the Latin words “carne levare” meaning “to remove meat”, since eating meat is prohibited during Lent.  Carnival is celebrated 46 days before the Easter festival every year. The festival is believed to be derived from the tradition of the Roman Catholics when they abstained from both meat and alcohol in order to remove negative things from their lives just before the start of Lent, which is a period of abstinence from alcohol and other sins. Beginning in the 1830’s, followers of the Roman Catholic Church would indulge in a last day filled with dancing, fun, and alcohol, and the tradition of electing the Carnival’s “king.”

     

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Although the different cities of Brazil have their own unique way of celebrating the week-long festival of revelry and fun, the most prevalent of them all is Rio de Janeiro. The Sambodromo stadium in the city is occupied by thousands of people showing their festivity by wearing colorful costumes, masks, and dancing samba to the beats of drums and music. Rio’s Carnival is influenced heavily by the favelas, which are the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Residents of favelas are usually members of samba schools which allow them to participate in group performances. Some famous groups include Banda de Impanema, Camelitas, Cordao do Bola Preta, and Suvaco do Cristo.  Featuring more than 100 block parades supported by students and staff of the city’s samba schools, Rio de Janeiro’s carnival celebration requires months of preparation while simultaneously integrating different types of people together to celebrate.  If you like to “dance and sing, and get up and do your thing”, Rio’s Carnival is something you have to do at least once in your life.