Even if you do not know much about Brazil, you have probably heard about Carnival. The festive and exciting event, which features exuberant music, dancers in barely-there outfits, parades, and craziness takes place in Rio de Janeiro for four days and nights. It also takes place in other cities, like Salvador and Olinda-Recife. It is a grand celebration and is not for the faint-hearted; therefore, if you think you can keep up with the action, maybe you should go to Brazil to experience the Carnival. A lot of hard work goes into preparing for the event. The dates vary from year to year, so keep track of the action.
Carnival has an interesting history. It entered South America from Europe as a celebration that took place before the start of the forty-day Lent season of fasting and prayer. The word carnival is actually believed to come from the Italian word carne vale or farewell to meat. Meat was not eaten during Lent.
The Portuguese traditions of entrudo, or throwing mud, water, and flour at passers-by entered Brazil. It changed into a flour and water or egg-tossing tradition in Brazil. In the beginning, the celebrations included some fun. It was different for the lower and upper classes. The higher classes celebrated privately in homes, while the lower classes hit the streets and created chaos. At first, the aristocratic gentry did not approve of the revelry on the streets. With time, however, they also hit the streets in masks and joined the action.
Music is a very important part of the Carnival. The samba comes from the West African tradition of Brazil. Its infectious rhythms and beats define the Carnival. The pounding drums get the crowd to dance instantaneously! Spectators of the parades dance and sing along with the people in the middle of the action.
In the 1930s, the neighborhood samba schools began to compete against each other during the Carnival. This tradition still takes place. Most of the competitors come from the poorer parts of Brazil. Other competitors also join from the United States, Europe, and parts of South America. It is growing to be an international attraction. The dancers practice for months before the Carnival.
With the opening of the Rio Sambadrome in 1984, many celebrations take place there. In order to see the extravagant samba parades at the Sambadrome, you will need tickets and reservations. The Tourist Office of Brazil can help you. The parties begin at about 8pm and go on until dawn. Nightclubs are popular destinations, too, with parties and galas taking place there.
The days and nights of the Carnival are very exciting with the sounds of samba and continuous movement and action. Tourists from all over the world pour into Brazil to catch a glimpse of the action. Remember to make hotel reservations well in advance, as many people choose to visit the country at this time. The Carnival is definitely a Brazilian event to experience, if you are into music, dance, and good times! It might not be a family event or ideal for all kinds of people, but if you are the party lover, you need to check it out.