Yes, you read right, I wrote Carnaval, not Carnival. I’m talking about Brazil’s greatest festival, so I thought I could use a little Portuguese. Sorry.
Yeah, it’s coming up, and though it’s a week away, Brazilians are already celebrating. In Rio, for instance, there are more than 100 Blocos de Carnaval ready to parade this weekend. Okay, let me explain what Blocos are: a planned gathering of people in the streets (whoever wants to join is welcome), usually with a theme, who go out to ‘parade’. Some blocos have bands that play songs according to the theme. Most of them play samba or marchinhas de carnaval, but there are those who play rock’n’roll, axé etc. Oh, and most people go to blocos using costumes.
So, starting now, there’ll be blocos filling up Brazil’s streets until the end of the next week. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? Yeah, kinda. We’ll have some old and new problems.
Old ones: the big amount of trash and dirt people leave after parties; a high amount of alcohol (and, unfortunately, other stuff as well) comsumed, which sometimes leads to fights, health problems and many other bad situations. New ones: high inflation (making people spend less); drought (especially in southeast).
Well, street parties aren’t the only fun source in Brazilian carnaval. For people who dislike parties (like myself), there’ll be the greatest show of all: watching the Schools of Samba parade.
Oh, it’s such a magical time!! I really mean it. Schools of Samba are organizations, usually representing their neighborhood, which compete against one another. They make a parade presenting a theme (enredo) and I have to say I’ve learnt a lot watching those parades.
Here’s a clip (not the actual parade) of Unidos da Tijuca, last year’s winner, whose theme was Ayrton Senna, a former Formula One racing driver who died many years ago.
And I may be wrong, but I think their theme this year is Switzerland.
If you would like to learn more about Brazilian culture or you like samba, I totally recommend watching the Schools of Samba. I believe it is broadcasted worldwide.
Other famous carnaval parties are Salvador’s, capital of Brazil’s state of Bahia, in northeast region. There, we can find Trios Eletricos, massive trucks whose top is occupied by Axé singers singing and dancing. The truck slowly moves around and tons of people go after it, singing and dancing along.
So, what’s carnival like in your countries? Let me know in the comments section 😀