- The best viewpoints 5. Carnival’s music
- Plan beforehand 6. Styles of dancing
- Carnival roots 7. A music group for a street
- The time to attend the Carnival 8. The time for pleasure
A. Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become a world-famous annual celebration. It is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil for almost a week 40 days before Easter, which is usually in February, the hottest month in the Southern Hemisphere. Officially, it starts on Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, during which some Christians give up something that they enjoy.
B. The most colourful events take place in the Carnival World Capital, Rio de Janeiro. It was the original place where, in 1723, Portuguese immigrants went out onto the streets soaking each other with buckets of water and throwing mud and food, often ending up in street brawls and riots. The concept kept changing throughout the 1800s with more organized parades, where the Emperor with a group of aristocrats joined in masks with luxurious costumes and music.
C. Now the parade varies from state to state. It is a mixture of arts. The music played during Rio Carnival is samba — a unique Brazilian music originating from Rio. It’s also a dance form that was invented by the poor Afro-Brazilians as a type of ritual music. The word «samba» meant to pray to the spirits of the ancestors and the gods of the African Pantheon. As a noun, it could mean a complaint or a cry.
D. Even today, the most involved groups in Rio Carnival are the poorest, the so-called «favelas», where houses are made of cardboard or other metal remains, and there is often no water, electricity or sewage system. However, the favelas’ residents always join in the festivities and actually make the Carnival, which really means a lot to them. Because, for once during the year, they get to go out and have as much fun as they can.
E. Residents of the favelas are often members of local samba schools and are deeply involved with the performance and costumes of their groups. Each neighborhood in Rio has its favorite Carnival street band. There are more than 300 of them in Rio nowadays, and each year this number increases. Each band has its place or street for its parade and the big ones usually close the streets to the traffic.
F. Rio de Janeiro is usually divided into three zones. The so-called Zona Sul is by far the most pleasant place to stay in Rio, as it is by the sea and is the most civilized part of the city. Districts Copacabana and Ipanema together form a big stage offering a carnival happening at every corner. Leblon, being a bit more upscale, is also an excellent location.
G. Except the industries, malls and the carnival-related workers, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night. If you plan to go to watch the Carnival, you should organize your trip well in advance. The best hotels, especially in the Zona Sul, are booked up early, so it’s a good idea to make a reservation at least 3 or 4 months in advance.