It’s here! The time of year and THE EVENT in Brazil that gets everyone talking!
CARNAVAL!!! (Carnaval is the Portuguese spelling)
Carnival is even a Holiday in this country. Well of course, you say! 2 and a half days… the half day is so people can stay out partying the last night of Carnival, sleep in, get sobered up and be ready for working by 2pm. For us it’s kinda of nice because these holidays fall just a few days before our week vacation to the Caribbean.
So…CARNIVAL. What’s the BIG deal?
CARNIVAL is the annual festival in Brazil that takes place the week before LENT. This year it is February 8-12, 2013
According to Wikipedia…” On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term “carnival,” from carnelevare, “to remove (literally, “raise”) meat.” Carnival has roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia which, adapted to Catholicism became a farewell to well things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection.” Whoa…what a change over the years to what it is now!!!
That being said…Carnival is one HUGE party!! In major cities like Rio de Janeiro, there are huge parades by the Samba schools. These “official parades” are meant to be watched by the public and is the biggest thing in entertainment this time of year, while minor parades called “blocos” which allow public participation are found in other cities or districts within cities.
Samba schools are very large groups of performers, financed by respected organizations who work all year in preparation for Carnival. Samba Schools perform in the Sambodrome, running four entire nights from 10ish at night until early the next morning. They are part of an official competition, divided into seven divisions, in which a single school is declared the winner, according to costume, flow, theme, and band music quality and performance. Some Samba schools also hold street parties in their neighborhoods, through which they parade along with their followers.
Carnival time in Rio is a very interesting, but is also the MOST expensive time to visit Rio. Hotel rooms and other lodgings can be up to four times more expensive than the regular rates. There are big crowds at some locations and life is far from ordinary in many parts of the city.
Again, according to Wikipedia… “Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Except the industries, malls and the carnival related workers, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. The consumption of beer accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of annual visitors. Statistics say Rio de Janeiro’s carnival alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners.”
That sounds CrAzY to me!!! I have been to Rio many times, on “normal” weeks and traffic and people are crazy. As a foreigner I DO NOT want to go to Rio during Carnival…well I want to see it, but knowing what the effects of that many extra people during a holiday have on Rio, I DO NOT want to be there! I know it is our only chance but I really don’t want to pay the hundreds of dollars for tickets and hotel and deal with the cRaZiNeSs!!
So…Resende Bloco parties it is! Actually our fellow expats that were here last year said it was pretty good, well not really…a little lame, BUT they had fun together experiencing ALL the sights and sounds of the parades and parties in Resende…a good laugh for sure! I will hopefully get some good pictures and do a post about this on the weekend! And …because I want to see the AMAZING things that happen at the Sambodrome, I will be sure to watch the coverage on TV to see what Samba schools are the best. And really…I am sure I will see more of it on TV( well that’s what I keep telling myself)
So…Let the Festivities begin!