When is it?
Carnival is Brazil’s main event. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. Festivities attract thousands of people from all corners of the world. Carnaval, as spelled in Portuguese, is a 4-day celebration. It starts on Saturday, and ends on Fat Tuesday. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. Dates change every year.
Lastcarnival took place: 2010 February 12 and 17
What does it celebrate?
The first records of Carnival festivities in Rio de Janeiro date back to 1723. The origin of Brazil's carnival goes back to a Portuguese pre-lent festivity called "entrudo", a chaotic event where participants threw mud, water, and food at each other in a street event that often led to riots.
The idea was basically gettingeverybody soaked wet. People would go out in the streets with buckets of water and limes, and everybody could be a potential victim. Even Emperors took part in the fun.
How do people celebrate?
1. Samba Schools:
The carnival parade is filled with people and floats from various samba schools. A samba school can either be an actual school or just a collaboration of local neighbors that want toattend carnival. Samba schools include: Mocidade Independente, Imperio Serrano, Academicos do Salgueiro, Unidos da Tijuca, and Beija-Flor de Nilopolis.
The purpose of carnival is for samba schools to compete with fellow rival schools; this competition is the climax of the whole carnival festival. Each school chooses a theme to try and portray in their entry. The samba schools work to build the bestfloats and costumes to represent their themes, and to include the best music they can from their band called the bateria. There are many parts to each school's entry including the six to eight floats and thousands of participants.
2. Street Carnival:
Street festivals are very common during carnival and are highly populated by the locals. Elegance and extravagance are usually left behind, butmusic and dancing are still extremely common. Anyone is allowed to participate in the street festivals. Bandas and bondos are very familiar with the street carnival especially because it takes nothing to join in on the fun expect to jump in.
3. Music and dance:
Incorporated into every aspect of the Rio carnival are dancing and music. The most famous dance is the samba, an African dancebrought over by the slaves. The samba was created by the African slaves mixing with the choros, street bands, of Brazil. The samba remains a popular dance not only in carnival but in the ghetto villages outside of the main cities. These villages keep alive the historical aspect of the dance without the influence of the western cultures. Other dances include the lundu, the polka, and the maxixe.
Thesamba is the main dance of Rio Carnival but it is not performed in silence. Music is another major aspect of all parts of carnival. As stated by Samba City, “Samba Carnival Instruments are an important part of Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro Carnevale, sending out the irresistible beats and rhythms making the crowd explode in a colourful dance revolution fantasy fest!” The samba that is found in Riois batucada, referring to the dance and music being based on percussion instruments. It “is born of a rhythmic necessity that it allows you to sing, to dance, and to parade at the same time.” This is why the batucada style is found in most all of Rio’s street carnivals.
Do they eat any special food?
Carnival is a party season in Brazil, and food is an important component and part of thistraditional party. During this season, many different intense foods, some of them typical in parties, can be seen in Brazilian homes, restaurants, and even streets.
Feijoada is, of course, the king. This dish can always be found during Brazil carnival. Since this is a heavy dish, it is usually eaten after the parades or at any time when people know they can rest a while after eating it.