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Brazilian Carnivals and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

Brazil is rightfully considered a country of carnivals, many of its cities host their own carnivals, but one of the most famous in the world and the most spectacular, of course, is the carnival in Rio de Janeiro.

Brazilian carnivals

This grand event takes place in the month of February, and how, we learn from this article.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

The Brazilian Carnival (Carnaval do Brasil) is an annual festival held in many cities in Brazil 40 days before Easter, marking the beginning of Lent. During Lent, Roman Catholics refrain from any bodily pleasures. That is why the Brazilian carnival, as an act of farewell to pleasures, takes place on the eve of the post.

There are several versions of the origin of the Brazilian carnival. According to one of them, it is based on the “Fun Day” introduced by the Portuguese in the 17th century – a holiday accompanied by songs and dances, when it was customary to fool each other in every possible way, pour water on it, throw raw eggs and beans. Soon black slaves joined this fun, brought to Brazil from Africa, bringing colorful customs from their homeland. By the 20th century, the Brazilian carnival absorbed elements of the carnivals of Italy and France. It was then that masks, fantastic costumes and characters came to a Brazilian holiday. There are also regional variations of the carnival.

In 1928, the first samba dance school arose in Rio and since then the tradition of carnival parades of samba schools has spread to other cities. The largest parades of samba schools are just the carnival in Rio, as well as the carnival in Sao Paulo. In these cities there are special sambadromes, where the samba schools perform, the entrance for the audience is paid (but all street processions, of course, are free).

However, the tradition of street carnivals, in which everyone who wishes can participate, has not disappeared today. It has been preserved mainly in the north-east of Brazil, in the cities of Salvador, Recife and Olinda. Hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets to walk along the city roads, dance, sing, have parties and have fun. In these cities, parades are held not only to the rhythms of samba, for example, in Recife and Olinda – to the rhythms of maracatu, afosha and freew.

The Brazilian Carnival is the largest national holiday of the country and the most famous holiday of Brazil. At the time of its holding, life in the country completely freezes, the holiday is celebrated day and night, 50% of the annual beer consumption falls on this period, and 70% of tourists come to Brazil at this time.

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

The carnival in Rio de Janeiro takes place once a year in the month of February (the height of the Brazilian summer). The holiday begins on Saturday before Lent and lasts for 4 days and 4 nights until Ash Wednesday (Quarta-feira de cinzas).

This festival is organized with the participation of the Ministry of Tourism and the League of Samba Schools, and its holding is broadcast to almost all TV channels.

The carnival begins with the symbolic transfer by the city mayor of the keys to Rio de Janeiro to the “king of the carnival”, who becomes the full owner of the city during the celebration.

The main feature of the carnival in Rio de Janeiro is that it is not an impromptu procession with dances and songs, but a well-rehearsed theatrical procession-competition of samba schools, in which up to 4,000 people participate from each school at a time.

Each samba school has been preparing very carefully for this holiday for the whole year, everything is thought out to the smallest detail, the theme of the performance is chosen, music and choreography are being prepared, unique costumes are created and moving platforms are made out.

Forty members of the jury will evaluate each item: the unity of the team, the rhythm of the drums and their consistency with dance and singing, and, of course, the overall impression.

One of the most important personages during the school march is the standard-bearer woman who heads the car, and the score also depends on her performance.

Every day, more than two million people take part in a carnival on the streets of the city, but the main carnival procession takes place on Sambodrom – a special 700-meter street designed for a carnival, with stands and lodges for 90,000 spectators. The parade of samba schools at the sambodrome begins in the evening at 21 and can last for 10 hours.

The winner school of last year’s carnival is the first in Sambodrom, and then the rest of the schools go on the list. First, the name of the school is carried, then its employees and celebrities in carnival costumes go, followed by thousands of dancers and musicians, as well as brightly decorated platforms on wheels, near which elite dancers “Passistas” dance.

The demonstrations of samba schools will end with the Champions Parade, which will be determined by a competent jury. According to the results of the carnival, the winner school is selected, which is awarded a cash prize.

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