Festivities take on many different forms, but the end
results are the same: Holidays!!! It's like a spring-break thing for all.
are known for their love of a good time and there is some definite truth to that
statement. You might even call that a stereotype. In a country that’s as diverse
as any, it seems this love is a birthright. Carnival precedes the Lent phase of
Easter whereby all those of the Catholic faith forego meat/carne. But
prior to Lent, some (many years ago) have indulged in a ‘get it out of your
system’ mentality before the fasting of Lent began, to help in the creation of
appreciate the same things that the rest of the world do, like enjoying family and
friends and with a healthy portion of song and dance. To be honest, many Brazilians
take these holidays relaxing away from the party, in a quieter setting outside
of the big city.
Time of year
The dates of carnival vary from late February to early March. Carnival and the
New Years celebration are the two times of the year that foreigners pour into
the country, making it almost impossible to find a room at the last minute,
particularly in Rio. The ones remaining are priced on demand. That’s up, up and
away and usually in a package, locking you in for the four days and three
Rio de Janeiro
is already one of the costliest cities in Brazil. Plan ahead for these two
Believe it or not, carnival in
Rio de Janeiro
takes on a more discrete form then the other two big cities with private
parties, big and small. On the beach in Copacabana, you will find some live
music by some of Brazil’s popular artists, all of which are free. The Rolling
Stones did one of the largest shows ever, with well over a million people
in the audience on Copacabana beach 2006. It was fantastic!
part of carnival is on the street following a large flatbed truck called a
trio eletrico. The truck is stacked with amplifiers, a band of musicians and
those chosen few dancing up top with the band. The band performs as the entire
procession ceremoniously crawls through the designated city streets. Young and
old take part and the music is geared towards the shaking of the body to the
rhythm. The historic cities of the northeast,
really do these trio eletrico things up, with enormous flocks in tow.
Of course what carnival really means, from
Rio de Janeiro
to the world, is the parade which plays host to all of the big and small samba
schools. These schools are clubs from the barrios of the city that practice all
year long for their hour-of-fame parading down the Sambadromo stadium. Samba is
a fast-paced rhythm and dance that has strong Bantu African influence. The
schools are usually led by the drummers, followed by the supporting samba
dancers , and then the colorfully designed float - the central theme, which
showcases the queen, clad in bikini, feathers and all the glamour and glitter
that we have seen on TV. All of this can cost millions of dollars for the
bigger samba schools.
other thing worth mentioning:
There are two sides to the Sambadromo: the concrete bleachers, and the VIP
rooms for those fortunate enough to be sponsored or with deep pockets. The
biggest companies in Brazil buy up lots of this VIP space for their chosen ones.
The bleachers will set you back over $100 on a weekend showing. Plan on spending
a few times over for a space on the greener side with those privileged folks.
Should be worth the price for the safe and quality experience. The parades run
over a three day period.
Getting to Sambadromo
Metrô (subway) runs around the clock during carnival and is safe and
practical. Taxis are also a good option. The nights when the bigger samba
schools parade are the more costly affairs and are scheduled on the weekends.
They start after dark and go until the early morning hours.
Other leading cities that are famous for carnival include
cities in the northeast of Brazil. In both of these places, live venues and
street revelry whip crowds into frenzy. Make sure you are prepared for some
craziness. Hordes of people take to the central areas of the city, much like
sardines in a can. Even the smaller cities also usually have a parade, something
for those interested in a calmer affair.
all about letting your hair down and exercising your right to enjoy yourself.
Whether it's joining in on a trio eletrico, a live show on famous Copacabana
beach, or be it the parade in
Rio de Janeiro. You know what to do. So
go on, don't be shy. Throw your hands in the air and give me a Yahoo for