Carnival

The Brazilian Carnival is an annual feast, celebrated forty days before the Easter (marking the start of a religious period, the Lent), in Brazil. It has some variations from its counterparts in Europe, as well some differences across the large Brazilian territory. The Brazilian Carnival is known in Brazil simply as “carnaval”.

Despite the Catholic inspiration, Brazilian Carnival is celebrated more as a profane feast than a religious event. Its origins are Europeans, by a kind of carnival called Introito (Latin for entrance). The entrudo, as it was known in Brazil, could have been characterized mainly as a joke: to throw water (and later, other things) in other people, to “purify the body”. The entrudo was prohibited, without success, in middle of the 19th Century, as it was considered violent by the upper classes (it is told that many people died from infections and other diseases, since even rotten fruits were sometimes thrown).

In the late 19th Century, the cordões (literally “laces” in Portuguese) were introduced in Rio de Janeiro, which consisted of groups of people that would walk on the streets playing music and dancing. The cordões were ancestors of the modern samba schools.

The blocos (blocks), another name for the cordões, are some of the current representations of the popular Brazilian Carnival. They are formed by people who dress in costumes according to certain themes, or to celebrate the carnival in specific ways. The schools of samba are truly organizations that work all year in order to prepare themselves for the samba schools parade.

The main festivity in Brazilian Carnival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, with its samba schools, blocos and bandas which occupy entire neighbourhoods. In some cities of the Northeastern Region like Recife, Olinda and Salvador, there is another form of the Brazilian Carnival: the Trio Elétrico. A trio elétrico is an adapted truck, with giant speakers and a platform where musicians play songs of local genres such as Axé music and Maracatu.