Carnival of Rio de Janeiro
Carnival in Rio is considered one of the biggest in the whole world. It is a cultural and popular party that takes place in different ways: the escolas do samba (Samba School parades), the carnival parades, the blocos (Carnival groups) and the bandas de ruas (street bands). One of the main characteristics is the excessive party, together with a great diversity of people from all over the world. However there is another striking feature: the names of the Carnival groups, always with a double meaning hilarious and sexual at the same time.
Nowadays, the Carnival on the streets is five times bigger than the Samba School parades. It is a versatile event with a wide variety of Carnival groups and street bands playing samba, marchinhas (Carnival marches), and northeastern rhythms. There are others more specific that also play funk, pop, and even The Beatles` songs. View more about bloco de ruas>>
The Carnival on the streets suffered a period of decay, in which Carnival was just about the Samba School parades in the Sambodromo. However, after that, the Carnival on the streets made an impressive comeback and was named one of the biggest in the world by the Record World Guiness book.
SAMBA SCHOOL PARADES
The most impressive parades in Carnival are held by the Samba Schools. People from all over the world come to see this show, so vibrant and colourful that mesmerizes the audience with the exotic Brazilian dancers, the samba music and the exceptional moves.
During the year, the Samba Schools practice to get ready for the annual parade that is in itself a competition. It all happens in the fantastic Sambodromo, an Oscar Niemeyer work that was finished by 1984.
Before that, the parades took place in the same area, on Marques de Sapucaí St., and the stands and the dressing rooms were assemble just for the parades and afterwards they were taken down till the next year.
While parading, every Samba School starts its own “Samba Enredo”, which counts with the audience participation. Everybody sings the songs, empowering in this way the main singer voice. The sound of drums echoes inside your body and it is, without a doubt, really loud and vibrant. Surrounded by strong sounds, you get super emotional and happy. It is an amazing experience.
Carnival was brought to Brazil by the Portuguese in 1641. At the beginning it was a disorganized party based on a liquid war (water, alcohol, vinegar and so on). In this way, violence would take hold of the celebration from time to time. The first brazilian mask ball took place in the Hotel Italia in 1840. However, in 1841, the Carnival was prohibited due to the considerable violence generated, so people moved the event to another direction so as to continue with the celebrations. From 1855 to 1890 the Carnival developed greatly, and the Carnival Clubs, the Blocos and the Carnival cords were created.
The first Bloco de Samba (Samba Group) was born in 1917. Samba music is Brazilian in origin, but has deep African roots. Places like Praça Onze and Cidade Nova became THE Samba places. Samba lovers used to gather there to show their innate talents. Singers, dancers, and musicians formed the clubs and societies that would compete against each other later. Those groups gave birth to the primary Samba Schools, having the first official parade in 1932.
Together with the civilized party, there were other parties taking place in the city: the famous Carnival entrudo (celebration) with all its spontaneous and messy joy, the Congada groups (Congos), and the Cucumbis. All of them took advantage of the Carnival liberty and got official permission to parade around the streets. In that way, other groups were formed mainly by black people and Portuguese businessmen (a.k.a. Ze Pereiras), and they also started to parade on the streets.
The mixture of such different groups would eventually create a sort of dialogue among them. The influence that they had on people started to tell by means of the audience they attracted their costumes and the infectious music. Carnival societies incorporated as well some of the rhythm and typical sounds of the Carnival on the streets.
As a result of all these, the streets of Rio witnessed the birth of a great amount of groups, influenced by different social backgrounds. Such a versatility, such freedom of groups organization gave that particular identity to the Carioca Carnival. An identity shaped in the streets between dialogues and tension.