The Carnival of Brazil, which is spelled as ‘Carnival’ in Portuguese language, it is a yearly festival, which is held forty days earlier to the Easter. On a particular days of Lent, earlier some Roman Catholics and other Christians gave up meat eating for certain period of time, this is why it is called as the rio de janeiro carnival, from Carnelevare, or to remove the meat in Portuguese. It is believed that the carnival has roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, and later it was adapted to Christianity, it was the time to say good bye to all the bad things for the season and get involved in the process of repentance and prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection.
Well the costumes, rhythm and participation differ in every region of Brazil. In the cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paule, the parades are led by various samba schools, which are influenced largely by Venice Carnival; well those official parades are actually meant to be watched by the general public, in the other cities organize smaller parades and also allow public participation. In the northeastern cities of Porto Seguro, Salvador, and Recife, in these cities the parades do takes place, however, the public interact with them directly. The carnivals are very much influenced by the culture of African- Brazalian culture. Huge crowds go behind the trio electricos, as they parade through the streets of the city. In the regions of the North East, they feature special and unique characteristics, which if in quiet a few ways influenced by Venice Carnival, which is mixed local folklore and despections of the cultures.
Well the rio de janeiro carnival is one if the most well known and important holidays in Brazil and it is one of the significant event in the country. The entire country stands still for a complete week during the event. The celebration is quiet intense, and carries on day and night, mainly in the coastal cities. Well during this time the Brazil consumes close to eighty percent of their annual beer, and close to seventy percent of the annual tourists arrive in Brazil during this time. During this time the government launches campaigns for sexual awareness and distributes condoms to prevent any kind of medical consequences due to the events both for the locals as well as the tourists.
Well when we think about the rio de janeiro carnival, it is quiet obvious that we think about the less dress dancers, dancing on the rhythms of samba, exotic parades and incessant revelry and the great city of Rio de Janeiro. Well the four days and nights at the time of carnival in the city is rich and also it is self indulgent, the world sees the festival as one of the spectacles, however it takes complete year to plan for the festival to be planned and organized. It requires a lot of hard work. Well the dates change each year for the festival, it is better to check the schedule before the departure, and it is very important to have prior travel arrangements, as sometime it could be impossible to find an accommodation at this time and the prices are quiet high at this time. It is better to book flights as soon as possible as it could be very challenging to get one during this time.
Actually the culture of carnival arrived in South America from Europe, it was a beginning of forty day celebration of Lenten season, involving fasting and prayers. It considered that the word carnival came from the Italian word Carne Vale, which in English is farewell to meat, as Christians some even today do not consume meat during this time. These late winter celebrations in Europe gave the way to this warm celebration in Brazil.
Well in Brazil and Portuguese traditions of entrudo, throwing water flour and earth or mud at the common passer by gave the tradition of lightheartedly throwing of flour and water or even egg tossing custom in Brazil. Well in the beginning of the celebrations, was the form of merry making those higher classes which is celebrated privately in their societies, where as on the other hand the poor mass ended up celebrating on the streets in unplanned and unformed celebration. The aristocratic gentry might actually have looked down towards the street frolics; however it did not take much time for more adventurous, among them got into the heavily masked and in a disguised in order to join the fun.
Well the samba basically comes from the West African heritage of Brazil and the tradition was quiet infectious, the rhythms of the music was contagious and it became completely linked to the carnival. Well during the festival the pounding drums which get into the blood streams, and your feet automatically starts moving and you will begin to dance even before you realize it. Well if you are just watching the parade, you can still join the dancing and singing along with the escolas, as they posture by and dance.
The street parades or the samba schools in the neighborhood started to compete against each other in the early thirties, this day it is one of the most prestigious competitions and could be compared with the sports team competitions. The performers prepare the entire year to compete during the carnival, and there are so many strategies which are involved during the planning of the theme and the dance style during the celebration. Well the ticket sales is the main source of income and the television rights and sometimes members put money from their own pockets to compete.
Most of the dancers who perform during the carnival come from a very poor background, and they come from shanty towns the favelas which cling preciously to Rio Hillsides. They practice for several months before the carnival, you can choose to sit in one of those practice sessions by paying a small admission fee. However you may not see the practice sessions with great costumes, which is chosen for the year’s theme. Well if you think that only Brazilians participate in the parades, then think again, Aquarela, which is situated in the United States, theses days a huge number of foreigners are participating in the parades, some time the foreigners form their own group or they join the existing escola. When you join the group, it is quiet a good lesson to understand what it takes to be a performer in the carnival. There is a movies such as Orfeu Negro, Black Orchid, it is one of the movie versions of Orpheus and Eurydice. These movies contributed in introducing the samba dancing to the world, and they also introduced the intensity of preparation which goes in the Carnival in Rio. Ever since the Rio Sambadrome, which is designed by oscar Niemeyer, Oscar Niemeyer, who is one of the well known architect in Brazilia, it was opened in 1984, many late night long parties happen here, they start at eight in the evening and end only at the dawn of that day. Even the night clubs are in abundance in Rio, they are quiet extravagant, well the two big nights of samba parades are for sure the sights to see. It is better to go prepared as it could be quiet crowded in the entire city during this time. Brazil tourist office at this time is well prepared to guide the tourists accordingly. The days and nights during this time are adorned with the sounds of samba, and the frolic continues without ceasing.