Home>>Brazil Map>>Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

The Carnival of Brazil is an annual festival held forty-six days before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival," from carnelevare, "to remove (literally, "raise") meat." Carnival celebrations are believed to have roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Christianity, became a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ's death and resurrection.

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades ("blocos") allowing public participation can be found in other cities. The northeastern cities of Salvador, Porto Seguro and Recife have organized groups parading through streets, and public interacts directly with them. This carnival is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture. It's a six-day party where crowds follow the trios eletricos through the city streets, dancing and singing. Also in northeast, Olinda carnival features unique characteristics, part influenced by Venice Carnival mixed with cultural depictions of local folklore.

The typical genres of music of brazilian carnival are, in Rio de Janeiro (and Southeast Region in general): the samba-enredo, the samba de bloco, the samba de embalo and the marchinha; in Pernambuco and Bahia (and Northeast Region in general) the main genres are: the frevo, the maracatu, the samba-reggae and Axe music.

Carnaval is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. The country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. The consumption of beer accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of annual visitors. The government distributes condoms and launches awareness campaigns at this time to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Rio de Janeiro's carnival alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners.

Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Modern Brazilian Carnival originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1641 when the city's bourgeoisie imported the practice of holding balls and masquerade parties from Paris. It originally mimicked the European form of the festival, later absorbing and creolizing elements derived from Native American and African cultures.

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

In the late 19th century, the cordoes (literally "cords", laces or strings in Portuguese) were introduced in Rio de Janeiro. These were pageant groups that paraded through city avenues performing on instruments and dancing. Today they are known as Blocos (blocks), consisting of a group of people who dress in costumes or special t-shirts with themes and/or logos. Blocos are generally associated with particular neighborhoods; they include both a percussion or music group and an entourage of revellers.

Sao Paulo Carnival

]

The carnival in Sao Paulo takes place in the Sambadrome of Anhembi on the Friday and Saturday night of the week of Carnival, as opposed to Rio's Carnival, which is held on Sunday and Monday night.

Various "samba schools" compete in a huge parade. Each school presents a different theme, which they expose through their costumes, dance, music and the "carros aleg¨®ricos" (also known as "trio eletrico", huge vehicles decorated according to the theme designed specifically for the parade).

The schools are responsible for choosing their own themes, which usually revolve around historical happenings or some sort of cultural or political movement.

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

Bahia Carnival

There are several major differences between Carnival in the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The musical styles are different at each carnival; in Bahia there are many rhythms, including samba, samba-reggae, axe, etc., while in Rio there is the multitude of samba styles: the "samba-enredo", the "samba de bloco", the "samba de embalo", the "funk-samba", as well as the famous "marchinhas" played by the "bandas" in the streets.

In the 1880s, the black population commemorated the days of Carnival in its own way, highly marked by Yoruba characteristics, dancing in the streets playing instruments. This form was thought of as "primitive" by the upper-class white elite, and the groups were banned from participating in the official Bahia Carnival, dominated by the local conservative elite. The groups defied the ban and continued to do their dances.

Pernambuco Carnival

The North East state of Pernambuco has unique Carnivals in its present capital Recife and in its colonial capital Olinda. Their main rhythms are the frevo and the maracatu. Galo da Madrugada is the biggest carnival parade in the world, considering the number of participants, according The Guinness Book of World Records. It means "dawn's rooster" and parades, as the name suggests, in the morning only. Frevo is Pernambucan-style dance with African and acrobatic influences, as it is fast and electrifying, often using an open umbrella and frequent legs and arms movements.

Unlike Salvador and Rio, the festivities in Recife, Olinda and Itamaraca do not include group competitions. Instead, groups dance and play instruments side by side. Tro?as and maracatus, mostly of African influence, begin one week before Carnival and end a week later. Some well-known groups have funny names, such as: Tell me you love me, damn eggymann (with a famous giant dancing doll that leads the group), Crazy Lover, Olinda's Underpants, and The Door. Held 40 days before Lent.

Brazilian Carnival

Brazilian Carnival

Minas Gerais Carnival

Minas also holds some important carnival parades, mainly in the historic cities of Ouro Preto, Mariana and Diamantina. They are held mostly by students' houses, which attract a majority of young people from the neighbor states. There are also other major parades in the region, such as the one in Pompeu.

Carnival in Minas Gerais is often characterized by blocos carnavalescos with varying themes and fantasy styles, almost always accompanied by a brass and drums band. However, Minas Gerais carnival was first influenced by the Rio de Janeiro Carnival (several cities have their own samba schools). Later some Axe groups from Bahia came to play in the state every carnival season.

Links:Top 10 Carnivals in the World