Brazilian Culture

It's February and there comes Carnaval!

It's February and there comes Carnaval! Foto: Flickr/Carlos Varela

One of the most expected dates of the Brazilian year is just around the corner: Carnaval!

As you may already know, this is not a original Brazilian tradition. Its "invention" comes from the 11th century, when the Roman Catholic church established the Holy Week. The decree required that followers observed a forty-day period of fast and penitence -- Lent -- as a preparation for the Easter celebrations. What became known as "Ash Wednesday" marks the beginning of Lent; and, the days that precede it were considered as a great opportunity to feast on meat ("carne"): Carnaval!

Today's Christians do not observe Lent for that long as they did in the past. However, the enthusiasm for Carnaval grew significantly in some cultures...

The Brazilian Carnaval

In Brazil, Carnaval's holiday is officially on tuesday (mardi-gras!); though, the festivities last for four days, starting on the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. In this long weekend, the party takes over the streets of cities all over the country and Brazilians call this most traditional way to celebrate "Carnaval de Rua".

In Rio de Janeiro, the street party grew to become the great spectacle that is the Samba Schools Parade -- with their notorious floats and costumes. However, the party is not restricted to the Samba Schools; the streets of Rio are taken by the "Blocos de Carnaval" and the street party tradition lives on. Even though Samba is the cornerstone rhythm of Rio's carnaval, in today's Carnaval party goers will find musical alternatives such as the "Bloco do Sargento Pimenta", who plays Beatles' tunes with carnaval rhythms and "Fogo e Paixão", that brings popular romantic tunes to the beats of the party.

The city of Salvador, Bahia, is famous for its fun packed "Carnaval de Rua". There, Samba-reggae (or "Axé") is the ruling rhythm coming out of the "Trios Elétricos" and is heard and danced to all over town. The "trios" are sound packed trucks that ride in pre-arranged paths around the city ("circuitos"), and there are more than 150 of organized parades. These groups gather more than 2 million locals and tourists in the four days of Carnaval.

In Pernambuco, the party happens to the sound of Frevo, the state's staple rhythm. In the streets of Recife and Olinda, the "blocos de rua" carry around their trademark "giant figures" that represent personalities and celebrities. The "bloco" "Galo da Madrugada" gather thousands of party goers and is one of the major attractions of Recife's carnaval.

Though the holiday is synonym to party for millions around the country, many people take the opportunity to exchange these busy days for trip or a relaxing long weekend away from the buzz.

What about you? What are your plans for Carnaval? How is the date celebrated in your town? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

ILC Brasil - News

The Celpe-Bras 2018.1 calendar was just …

If you are going to take the next edition of the Celpe-Bras proficiency exam, be ready! The exam registrations will happen between April 2nd and 13th. The written tests will...

21-03-2018 Hits:1918 News ILC Brasil

Read more

Newsletter December/2017

January Immersion for Beginners - Experiência Carioca - Register today! If you want to accelerate your first steps in the Portuguese language and learn more about Rio's culture, take the super-intensive...

11-12-2017 Hits:616 News ILC Brasil

Read more

ILC Brasil Newsletter September 2017

Celpe-Bras 2017.2 Online Prep Courses - Last weeks! If you have registered to take the Celpe-Bras examination this October, there is still time to get ready and do a great exam...

05-09-2017 Hits:661 News ILC Brasil

Read more

OAS Opens Their 2017 Selection for Gradu…

The Organization of American States (OAS) announced this last week their Brazilian scholarship program. There are 670 scholarships available for graduate and doctorate studies in Brazilian Universities, and are available...

08-08-2017 Hits:712 News ILC Brasil

Read more