FESTIVALS: Carnival In Rio De Janiero, Brazil

FESTIVALS: Carnival In Rio De Janiero, Brazil

Carnival In Rio De Janeiro

For The Brazilians, Carnival Is More Important Than Christmas, New Years And Easter Rolled Into One.

Road leading to the summit of Mount Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro, Braz.Image credit: Encyclopedia Britannica 

nztcinternational.com Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, with its incredible costumes, semi-nude samba dancers and competitive nature was what Carnaval is all about. Turns out there is a great deal more to it, and the Sambadrome parades are just one element of what is, without question, the world’s largest party.

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How Trinidad And Tobago Carnival Allows Women To Celebrate Their Body Types Image credit: Pinterest 

 

WikipediaCarnival blockscarnaval blocos or blocos de rua are street bands that mobilize crowds on the streets and are the main popular expression of Brazilian Carnival. These parades fall under the term “street carnival”, and happen during a period of about one month, beginning before and finishing after Carnival. Carnaval blocos usually perform samba music all around Brazil, but other popular musical styles (also identified with Carnaval) are present in specific regions, including frevo and maracatu in Pernambuco and axé in Bahia.

Street carnival blocos have become a mainstay of Rio’s Carnival, and today, there are several hundred blocos. Block parades start in January, and may last until the Sunday after Carnival. Carnaval Blocos are found throughout Rio de Janeiro. One of the largest and oldest blocos is the Cordão do Bola Preta, based in downtown Rio. Other large groups include Banda de Ipanema and Monobloco.

Desfile Portela 2014 (906185).jpgRio de Janeiro – Escolas de samba do Grupo Especial se apresentam no Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí, no segundo dia de desfiles (Fernando Frazão/Agência Brasil) Source: Wikipedia

In Recife, the carnival block Galo da Madrugada was registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest carnival parade in the world. In its 2013 parade, the crowd following the bloco was larger than 2,500,000 people[1]).

Besides Galo da Madrugada, thousands of others carnival blocks with sizes ranging from few hundred to millions of people, perform in the streets of Recife and Olindaincluding As Virgens de Olinda, Eu Acho É Pouco, Batutas de São José, Lenhadores, Pitombeiras, Segura o Talo, Bloco da Saudade, Enquanto Isso Na Sala de Justiça and Homem da Meia-Noite.

Giants dolls of Olinda, Pernambuco Source: Wikipedia

nztcinternational.comAn Insight into the Brazilian Carnaval -  At the heart of Carnaval lie the “blocos”. Historically the term “bloco” has been used alongside other terms (such as “rancho” and “cordão” which are no longer current as far as I am aware, at least in South-eastern Brazil) to denominate large, organised (or disorganised) street parties or parades. These are attested since the mid-nineteenth century and it is probable that Brazil has been the home to the world’s biggest street parties since then.

Blocos can be good, bad, beautiful and ugly. Crime and violence are endemic in Brazil, as are easy-going charm, gentility and an exceptionally democratic view of body image. At a bloco you might get drunk, hook up with someone (or several people), have your phone stolen, make and lose new friends, get lost in the teeming hordes of revellers and/or all of the above.

There are gay blocos, Fascist ones, communist ones, “intellectual” ones and children’s ones. There are small, local blocos which might occupy nothing more than a stretch of street near your house, and massive mega-blocos covering a huge area of the city with hundreds of thousands of revellers present.

When Carnaval starts and finishes depends on where you are. In theory, it ends on Ash Wednesday and starts a week or so before. In practice, the pre-Carnaval period can extend back to the beginning of the year or before and the post-Carnaval period can also go on for a while – in blatant defiance of Lent.

Brazil has an incredible diversity of regional music styles, and Carnaval music and practices vary accordingly. The samba is only one of scores of popular Brazilian dance styles and is not native to every area of the country (although as the “samba nacional” it was promoted during the Estado Novo period in the 1930s, and the widespread use of radio to popularise Rio de Janeiro fashions led to a profusion of local samba forms). The northeast, in particular, has a rich Carnaval heritage, with its most famous expression in the city of Recife. The dances most readily associated with the Recife Carnaval are frevo and maracatu – but there are samba schools there as well.

Until recently, São Paulo was not known for its Carnaval. It was a place to avoid in February. All that changed during the administration of the last mayor, Fernando Haddad, who was keen to incentivise the city’s street life. The results were explosive. Last weekend São Paulo was host to 187 blocos attended by 4 million revellers – and last weekend was just one of the pre-Carnaval weekends.

It’s hard to say what fuels the Brazilian appetite for fun. Alcohol, drugs and sex are an obvious component but there’s something more, something essentially, well, Brazilian. In repressed Anglo-Celtic societies, parallel rows of people watching a parade is considered an event. In Brazil, you are expected to join in. There is no compulsion for you to do so, but there is no reason why you wouldn’t. Costumes tend to be silly and slapdash, no-one really cares how you look or how you dance and you can stay around as long as you like. It is really a lot of fun.

Rio.ComThe Carnival in Rio de Janeiro – It is a festival held every year before Lent and considered the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people per day on the streets. More than anywhere else in Brazil, Carnival in Rio is a spectator event, but it’s fantastic spectacle nonetheless.Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival is larger, livelier, louder and more incredible than anything one can possibly imagine. It has 3 major ingredients and they are the Parade, the balls and the street.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carnival essentially takes 2 different formats in Rio de Janeiro. There is the party on the street and the competition in the Sambadrome.

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RIO DE JANEIRO – MARQUÊS DE SAPUCAI 2018 Source:  Pé no Mundo – Turismo e Aventura – Agência de Viagens e Turismo …

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Rio.ComCARNIVAL ORIGINALLY WAS A GREEK SPRING FESTIVAL

According to some, the carnival was originally a Greek spring festival in honor of the god of wine, Dionysus. The Romans adopted the same tradition with a feast in honor of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and Saturnalia. On this day master and slaves exchanged clothes amidst a day full of drunken revelry. The Roman Catholic Church later modified the feast of Saturnalia into a festival preceding the beginning of Lent. However, what evolved is a mass celebration of indulgences in music, dance, food, and drink, something which the Church did not have in mind.

Related image Ancient Greek Festival …  Image credit: youtube.com 

 

A WET AND UNRULY BEGINNING

Carnival festivities in Brazil date back to 1723 with the Portuguese immigrants from the islands of Açores, Madeira and Cabo Verde introducing the Entrudo. People went out onto the streets soaking each other with buckets of water and threw mud and food, which often ended up in street brawls and riots. The concepts kept changing throughout the 1800s with more organized parades like the grandes sociedades or great societies where the Emperor joined in the celebrations with a group of aristocrats that paraded in masks with luxurious costumes and music.During the 1840s, masquerade carnival balls set to polkas and waltzes became popular. A decade later, street parades with horse drawn floats and military bands were the center of focus of the carnival. Towards the end of the century, the carnival became a working class festivity where people wore costumes and joined the parade accompanied by musicians playing string instruments and flutes. Carnival was also used during the years of military censorship to express political dissatisfaction.   The Samba Schools would use irony and sarcasm to express their displeasure with the government and the people’s desire for freedom.

      The use of costumes and masks had, in all of Brazil, over seventy years of success, and peaked from 1870 until the decade of 1950.  It started to decline after 1930, when the price of the materials to produce the costumes – cloth and ornaments – got higher.   The disguise, or costumes that embellishes young guys and girls, were slowly reduced to the fewer possible, in the name of freedom of movement and to escape the heat stroke of the hottest time of year. Source: BrazilCarnivalShop

BrazilCarnivalShopThe most famous disguises of the Brazil Empire days, and beginning of the Republic were the skull, the old man, donkey (ears and all), the doctor, the bat, the chimp and the devil, father John, death, the Prince, the mandarin, the rajah and the maharaja.  These costumes and disguises started to decline sharply after the great depression.  Classic costumes such as Italian dell’arte comedian,domino, pierrot, harlequin and columbine – broadly used by merrymakers, started to disappear as well, due to the lack of reason to exist since the Police banned the use of masks on halls and streets…( It is a known fact that since 1685, the use of masks were  heavily forbidden and minimally allowed during brief periods.)  This forbidding was taken seriously, needless to say that already in the XVII century, law enforcers were very rigorous: Rio de Janeiro Governor Duarte Teixeira Chaves ordered through proclaim that all Negroes and mulatto using masks should be whipped in Rio´s public square and all whites using masks should be convicts to Sacramento Colony.)

The Use of Masquerades costume was very typical.

  Image credit: BrazilCarnivalShop

On the 1930’s, some costumes mentioned above, were still in use and resisted,  with the masks included.  Amongst them the apache, the cad, trickster (t-shirt with horizontal stripes, white pants, straw hat, red scarf around the neck), the old lady, Spanish woman, peasant, clown, Tyrolean, Hawaiian woman and the “woman from Bahia” or Baiana.

Slowly, men started to prefer white trousers and sport-shirts, reaching the point they started to use shorts and bare bust.  However this happened only after the 1950’s.  Women started to wear lighter costumes, and finally started wearing two pieces bathing suits and a couple of ornament necklaces.  After three centuries of Carnaval, the bikini, and bare bust costumes also came into scene because of Rio´s heat.

  The first Brazilian Carnaval Ball: This illustration from a magazine in 1909 called a “Careta” shows how the costumes were popular. Source: BrazilCarnivalShop

   A flyer showing a typical Pierrot costume. Carnaval balls however, became popular on spectacle houses only after the 1870’s. Entertainment establishments such as Pedro II Theatre, Santana Theatre and even popular establishments such as skating rinks, the Guanabara Club, and Societé Française de Gymnastic, which organized balls with a more open and popular characteristic, however with some VIP social area too. Source: BrazilCarnivalShop

 

AFRO-BRAZILIAN MAGIC 

Rio.ComNone can be more musically gifted than the Africans, who passed on the pulsating rhythms of the samba to the Brazilians during the days of slavery. The samba is an eclectic mix of music, song, and dance styles that Afro-Brazilians brought with them to the impoverished slums surrounding Rio after the abolition of slavery in 1888. It wasn’t until 1917 that the samba became an integral part of the Rio Carnival. Today, Samba is a true component of Brazil’s cultural heritage.  From the poorest slums to the richest haciendas, samba spread quickly through the city.  Even today, samba is sung in the ghetto shack as well as the high-class mansions and truly brings the Brazilian people together regardless of economic class.  Samba lies at the heart of the Carioca culture.

 brazilian-musical-instrumentsImage credit: Natal 

 

EMERGING SAMBA SCHOOLS

missowl.comIt is hard to imagine anyone in the whole world who has never heard of Brazilian Carnival. And even though there are many carnivals around the country, the first image that comes to mind, often, is the samba schools from Rio. No doubt, they are one of the most important manifestations of Brazilian popular culture, a kind of ode to samba, to the history of our people and, why not, to national fashion.

Although in the 19th century there were “Great Carnival Companies”, the first official samba school was founded only in 1928, in Rio de Janeiro, by the composer Ismael Silva. The school called “Deixa Falar” (Let us Talk) was intended to form a different carnival group, which, instead of dancing to the traditional marchinhas (typical Carnival music genre), followed the rhythm of samba. The idea was welcomed and the success was tremendous! From there, new schools came up, like “Estação Primeira de Mangueira”, “Portela” and “Unidos da Tijuca”, parading to the present day.

Initially, the organization was simple and there was no competition. It was in 1934, when it was founded the “General Union of the Samba Schools of Brazil”, that the structure of schools grew to become professional. And since the 50’s, samba schools have acquired the format close to what we know today, with various wings, each with different functions and sections, from musicians to dancers. The idea spread and affected other states of Brazil, especially São Paulo, which now create its own samba schools as well.

Image credit: Rio & Learn 

The first wing of dancers organized was ala das baianas (elderly ladies dressed in traditional clothes from Bahia), which is currently mandatory and essential in the parades. The wing was inspired by the women called “Bahian aunts” who received and welcomed blacks and mulattos in their homes when samba, capoeira and other African customs were marginalized – late 19th, early 20th century. In general, the “Bahian aunts” were Candomblé priestesses and worked selling their delicacies. Their clothes were composed of white pieces: bulgy round skirt, head turban and seed necklaces (spiritual guides). The “baianas” of the samba school parades are characterized by the skirts and the turbans. However, colors and accessories are usually exaggerated, typical of a show!  Source: Miss Owl  Image credit: commons.wikimedia.org 

 

Photo Credit: Szymon Kochański The instrumentalists, from the beginning, paraded for their schools wearing the costume that was immortalized as the typical image of malandro (bad boy) from Rio. Inspired by the capoeiristas of the time, they wore striped shirts, white pants – sometimes paired with a white blazer – and a straw hat. Source: Rio.com Image creditBolivian Life

 

Rio & LearnIn 1928, the first Brazilian samba school appeared and it was named Deixa falar (let it/them talk).

With the city growth, the poorer classes were forced to move out to the hill sides and outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, where they formed what is now known as favelas or periferias. In one of these places, composers , musicians and sambistas from the black community, through their varied gathering of rhythms and ideas , founded the first samba school Deixa Falar

In 1929, Deixa Falar had their first parade. It was a small parade between the neighborhoods of Estacio and Praça Onze . other samba blocks such as Mangueira and Oswaldo Cruz also attended the event, as well as samba blocks from different neighborhoods.

Primeira Escola de Samba do Brasil. Escola de samba Deixa Falar. Image credit: Rio & Learn

In those days,  samba was known as a type of criminal activity and a person could be arrested for jaywalking if the police saw them sambando(dancing) through the streets . Because of this negative image of samba , the police closely monitored the small parade.

The first samba school, disappeared in the early 1930.However, Deixa falar samba school contributed greatly to the growth of the samba culture in the city of Rio de Janeiro: The surdo de marcação do ritmo and the tamborim, were instruments that were left behind as inheritance from the school. Alcebíades Barcellos, also known as the Bide , was the creator of these instruments and also one of the founders of Deixa falar samba school.

In 1935 , governmental institutions finally accepted the samba schools parades.

There is no official record of that time . The first book to tell the story of the samba school Deixa falar, appeared in 1950

The most important schools of that period were the Portela and Mangueira .
The Portela parades introduced in the allegories , the plot ( story ) and the front line commission . The Manngueira , was well known for being the most traditional of all schools , emerged from the union of several carnival blocks .

Primeira Escola de Samba do Brasil. Escola de samba deixa falar. Surge pela primeira vez a escola de samba deixa falar.Image credit: Rio & Learn

Linha de tempo:

1928 -The samba school Deixa falar emerges for the first time.

1929 – The ‘Deixa falar’ perform their first parade in Estácio and in Praça Onze neighborhood.

1930 – The samba school ‘Deixa falar’ fades away.

1935 – The government institutions accept the parades of the samba schools.

1950 – The first records appear that tell the story of the samba schools.

Now we know a little about the origin of the samba schools and the history of the first school of samba, the Deixa falar .

Rio.ComSoon theme songs, elaborate costumes, and floats became the main attraction of the Rio Carnival. Many other teams from different communities in the Rio neighborhood followed Mangueira’s footsteps and formed samba schools to take part in the Carnival. The samba parade soon became the most popular event in Rio with the organizers being forced to set a time limit for each team in 1971. The streets of Rio remained the main stage for the Carnival until 1984, when the Sambadrome, built by world famous architect, Oscar Niemeyer, began to steal the thunder. Many of the current samba schools have their roots in the original schools of the 20’s and 30’s.  Each school has had its success and failures as the years and the competitions have gone on.  Some of the best-known samba schools are Unidos da TijucaBeija FlorSalgueiroMangueiraMocidade and Grande Rio.

Image credit: missowl.com

 

THE KEY ELEMENT OF THE RIO CARNIVAL PARADE

Rio.ComThe most significant element of the Rio Carnival is without doubt the elaborate costumes that are painstakingly handmade. The carnival is all about dressing up, and it doesn’t matter how under-dressed or overdressed you are. Total nudity is not allowed at the Carnival (although nearly naked Samba dancers are on display during the parades), and one needs to be thankful for that, or else the lavish costumes worn by some of the best samba dancers in the world would be non-existent. The costumes are one of the key elements of the parades. They are designed to reflect the theme of the school and their elaborate beauty amazes and delights the audience.Browse our collection of available costumes by samba school, parading date, price and type.  Remember that Carnival Costumes for Rio parades are made to order. 

Carnaval de Vinaroz 2015.ESPAÑA  Image credit: Pinterest

Caribbean Carnivals and FestivalsThe costume designers develop for each section an original clothing – every year! – that refers to the story told by the school in the samba song, and create and build, in detail, a great composition that causes surprise and excitement on who is seeing, closely and at some distance.The work is very meticulous. They use metallic fabrics, feathers and jewels, among other materials, to produce those garments that take about eight months to be done! A lot is bought abroad, which, in a way, justifies the high prices: some costumes can cost 100 thousand reais!! Source:  missowl.com 

 

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COSTUMES – ENJOYING  THE TRUE SPIRIT OF CARNIVAL

Rio.Com: Costumes are designed according to the theme that the samba school presents at the parade. The school is divided into several ‘alas’ or wings, with each wing having to wear a costume specific to their role. Each school is responsible for the manufacture and design of their own costumes. For outsiders, taking part in the carnival samba parade can be an unforgettable experience. Cariocas are known to be warm and welcoming people and visitors are welcome to join a samba school for their parade and enjoy the true spirit of the Carnival.

2....MESTRE SALA E PORTA BANDEIRAImage credit: Pinterest

Rio de Janeiro 2013 - Mestre-sala e porta-bandeira durante desfile da Paraíso do Tuiuti.Rio de Janeiro 2013 – Mestre-sala e porta-bandeira durante desfile da Paraíso do Tuiuti. The characters of the samba schools who usually have the more elaborate costumes are the mestre-sala (literally, the master of the room), the porta-bandeira (flag bearer) and the famous rainha da bateria (drum queen). The chosen ones to be the mestre-sala and flag bearers are usually people of importance in the community of the samba school and they carry their flag, their coat and their colors. The couple wear costumes that refer to the aristocratic nobility, symbolizing the colonization of Brazil, when slaves watched from afar the dances that took place at the headquarters of the farms of the Portuguese court and imitated their masters in the way of dancing and dressing. The flag bearer wears a dress with extremely wide skirt and a support for the flag. The mestre-sala wears tight pants and bulky shirt. Headdresses and feathers on the back also compose the wardrobe of both. Source: missowl.com  Image credit:  Pinterest

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Beija-Flor de Nilopolis  Uma das melhores escolas  do Rio de JaneiroImage credit: Pinterest

 

GROUND WING COSTUMES

Rio.Com:To live all the emotion and excitement what you need is a costume with which you can sing and dance to the rhythms of the samba like a true native right down the Sambadrome. To parade as part of an ‘ala’ or wing, your samba school will provide you with a ground carnival costume. Each wing portrays a different part of the theme and wear costumes specific to their role.

Sambodromo in Rio during carnival 2013 #rio #carnival #Travel #Party #Beautiful #Bucket ListSabadrome…Image credit: Pinterest 

Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí in Rio de Janeiro, RJ  Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dating back to the early 18th century, this massive street parade sees 2 million people per day take to the streets in elaborate samba parades.Sambódromo da Marquês de Sapucaí in Rio de Janeiro, RJ Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Dating back to the early 18th century, this massive street parade sees 2 million people per day take to the streets in elaborate samba parades. Source:  Pinterest 

Carnival in Sambadrome - Rio de Janeiro, BrazilCarnival in Sabadrome – Rio de Janiero .. Image creditPinterest 

This was one of the most amazing things I ever did.  A must do for all!! Samba School Parade in Sambadrome - Rio de Janeiro, BrazilImage credit: Pinterest

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Carro alegórico luxuoso da Beija-Flor encanta o público!

Rio Carnival FloatImage credit: Pinterest

These costumes are available in two qualities, one usually shinier with more feathers as per the school’s design. Joining the ground wing can be quite exciting. You can feel the energy of the dancers and the excitement of the audience. Thanks to the television cameras you are being watched all over the world and the 80,000 spectators are cheering you on, infused with your own energy as you dance on past. It is one of the most amazing experiences you will have in your life.

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FLOAT CARNIVAL COSTUMES

Rio.ComPlenty of planning and design goes into the production of floats for the Carnival. The floats being one of the biggest attractions at the parade, the costumes too are intricately designed. Participants are required to learn the samba song too. Only visitors who are serious about parading in the float are considered by the samba schools since they are concerned about losing points if participants fail to turn up for the parade.

The cost for these costumes ranges from US$ 900 to US$ 10,000 or more depending on the popularity of the school. The color of the costumes largely depends on the colors of the samba school. Being selected to ride on a float is a great honor and a huge responsibility. You will be a main focus of the judges and your performance will either gain or lose your school points in the competition.

 

Performers from the Inocentes de Belford Roxo samba school parade

i WILL be in the Carnival

Beija-Flor de Nilópolis, Rio

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Carnival, Rio De Janiero, Brazil....I think it will trump NOLA Mardi Gras. Definitely want to make it here one day!Image credit: Pinterest 

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COSTUMES FOR EVERYONE

Rio.ComYou don’t need to be part of a samba school in order to enjoy the privilege of wearing a carnival costume. You can be just as content being a spectator and join the thousands of cariocas who enjoy the carnival to the fullest with elaborate costumes of their own. Feel free to wear your costume at one of the many street parties that take place during the Carnival. Throughout the festival locals and tourists will turn all sorts of items and accessories into funny or elegant costumes.Whatever costumes you desire make sure you order them in advance. Plenty of work goes into the making of a costume which includes sequins, feathers, bows, colors, and very often, gems as well. You can expect to spend anything from US$ 250 upwards for a costume which you can have delivered to you anywhere in Rio.

Cristina Rasmussen, 4ª Dama de Honor del Carnaval de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2012,Cristina Rasmussen Sánchez, que con la fantasía "Argentum Dea", de Gran Canaria Diseños y Alberto Robina, representó al Parque Comercial Jinamar, Centro Comercial Las Terrazas y El Mirador.Image credit: Pinterest

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