The top event you cannot miss in 2018 – Carnival in Brazil
You have probably already heard about carnival in Brazil and you associate it with thousands of people celebrating on the streets, colorful costumes (one even crazier than the other) and samba schools competing against each other in pure joy.
But what exactly makes this carnival one of the most famous celebrations in the world? What is it about? Let’s have a look at the most important facts!
Save the date
The Brazilian carnival (in Portuguese: carnaval) is an annual event, which begins 51 days before Easter and ends on Ash Wednesday. Hence, carnival this year will be on February, 9th until 14th 2018. Check out the schedule for carnival in Brazil 2018.
It has its origins in Catholic traditions. Its ending day (Ash Wednesday) marks the last day of eating abundantly, before the 40-day period of Lent starts. The carnival festivities in Brazil lead back to 1723, when the first immigrants arrived in the largest South-American country. While it started as a rather unorganized event with people throwing mud at each other and street battles taking place, it has now become one of the biggest and most popular events in the world.
Rio de Janeiro
The presumably most famous celebrations take place in Rio de Janeiro. In the stronghold of carnival, the twelve best samba schools participate in a competition. The official parades happen in a designated stadium, the so-called “Sambódromo”. This is where the samba schools show their intensively rehearsed choreographies on a long catwalk. To get an impression of how this contest looks like: One parade can consist of up to 4,000 participants! Thus, the preparation for this highly respected contest among Brazil can take up to one year. Each participating samba school chooses its own theme and creates special costumes, songs, decoration, dances and floats according to this theme. All elements are coordinated to each other up to the smallest detail.
Rio de Janeiro may be the most popular destination among tourists, but trips to other cities in Brazil are absolutely worth it as well! São Paulo also hosts a famous parade similar to the one in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador is famous for its “trio elétrico” and the inhabitants of Recife like to celebrate exuberantly and dance to the rhythms of their own “frevo”. The presumably best and biggest carnival party in the south of the country is thrown in Florianópolis. Belo Horizonte surprises with its Brazilian vitality!
Official samba parade and street parades
Samba schools are those groups, who participate in the official parades. They dominate the news and carry great importance for the carnival culture.
“Blocos” and “bandas” however characterize the streetscape. Originally, “blocos” are dance/music groups with drums and vocals, whereas “bandas” are brass bands. Almost every neighborhood organizes its own one-of-a-kind street parade and their supporters dance and sing along, while they move through the streets.
To get a grasp of the whole Brazilian carnival experience, it is highly recommended to enjoy one or more of those street parades.
Worthy to mention is, that the typical carnival music – samba – would not be the same without the African influence. Hundreds of years ago, African immigrants brought music, dances and drum beats to the country. Those rhythms are still prevalent in today’s musical entertainment and shape the soul of carnival in Brazil.
To sum it up: Carnival is a joyful festivity of many cultures, that blend into a perfect experience for locals as well as tourists.
If you want to find out more about carnival music, check out Spotify’s playlists of samba theme songs from the Samba School Parades in 2018.
When it comes to costumes, the imagination has no limits! While it is not mandatory to wear a costume, numerous enthusiastic revelers show off the most elaborate outfits.
Are you getting excited for this amazing event?
Then dress up and dive into the Brazilian culture! Drift through the streets, watch and listen to the blocos or bandas and enjoy the numerous opportunities that Brazil has to offer on carnival!