The brazilian Carnival, how to participate, where to go and even more.
Every year, thousands of tourists and visitors visit Brazil for its legendary Carnival. Held on the four days preceding Lent, the Christian period of abstinence and sacrifice, it is an event full of colossal and dazzling parades, ostentatious and lavish balls, fanatical celebrations in the street and an intoxicating spirit that can only be found in this vibrant nation of South America.
At the core of the festivities is the widely famed Rio Carnival. Set in the ‘happiest city in world’ as described by Forbes magazine, Rio de Janeiro is where all the big action is. The magnificent Samba Parades are the key attractions but they are by far the only ones. With so many to choose from, the Rio Carnival 2014 promises to be a glorious colorful extravaganza of music, dance and nonstop merriment.
The Rio Carnival is the scene of some of the most electrifying parties in the land. Commonly referred to as the Carnival balls, these are usually themed and attendees go all out to bring the theme to life. Most of the balls tickets are affordable. There is however the A-list event – the Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace which will be on March 1st 2014. This is the first class party which attracts all the international celebrities and popular faces of Brazil. The Scala Nightclub in Rio holds six balls starting from Thursday and ending with the enthralling bordering on insane Gay Costume Ball on March 4th 2014. Tickets for the balls sell out quickly so get yours immediately to avoid disappointment.
The Samba Parades are the main attractions of the Rio Carnival. They are massive affairs with outstanding dance performances, glittering costumes, superlative choreography, extravagant floats and irresistible music. There are five parades that take place on different days of the Carnival and all promise to be magnificent events of grandeur and entertainment. Carnival Sunday and Monday, March 2nd and 3rd 2014 have the foremost shows as this is when the top twelve Samba Schools compete against each other. Tickets for the parades are always in demand so it’s best to book them well in advance.
Much of the exhilarating Rio Carnival happens right on the streets. Crowds of people gather in public places like a square or outside a pub and party till the wee hours of the morning. The Banda de Ipanema is one of the biggest street bashes full of extraordinarily dressed dancers and widely popular music. Another popular street party is the Simpatia é Quase Amor, popular with families and less R-rated than Ipanema. It takes place on the Saturday before Carnival and on Carnival Sunday that is March 2nd and March 3rd 2014. There are no tickets for the street parties, they are totally free and are an excellent way to experience the local of Rio de Janeiro
A charming feature of the Rio Carnival is the Samba Parade rehearsals that allow free access to all at no charge. They take place right in the Sambodromo and afterwards, the area is converted into a big street party with food and drink vendors keeping everyone drunk and fed. The biggest rehearsal takes place on the Sunday before Carnival when the schools practice their routines with music.
If the Carnival in Rio is all about Samba Parades, costumes and incomparable shows, the Bahian carnival is literally about dancing in the streets. Millions of Brazilians move to Salvador every year at Carnival time to enjoy this extremely different kind of celebration. The modus operandi are the Trios, which are huge trucks packed with hundreds of watts of sound equipment and a massive stage on the top. Popular bands perform on the stage and hordes of hysterical fans follow dancing to the widely famed music.
There are three ways to enjoy the Bahian parades. First is Papua where you can follow the trios as part of the crowd on the street. This is free of cost and can be a fun way to enjoy the band.
Second, you can buy a seat in the Camarotes which are boxes located on the side of the roads with food, music and DJ. This is great if you want to enjoy the bands from a distance.
Third, you can buy a ticket to part of the group that follows the trios. You get a t-shirt and are admitted into the rope held by security guards surrounding the trios. As the trio move, so does the rope and so will you, all the while dancing feverishly with the crowds around.
There are three parades, the Barra, the Avenida and the Pelourinho. The Barra begins from Farol da Barra (the light tower) and extends along the ocean until it reaches Ondina. The Avenida takes place mainly on Avenida Sete. The Pelourinho is an old-school parade with marching bands and no trios. The parties last for one week and each trio performs for three days in one of the routes.
The Brazil Carnival 2014 extends to the beautiful towns of Recife- Olinda. It lasts more than a week and is filled with incessant dancing in the streets to popular bands that perform on stage. The biggest event is the Galo de Madrugada early on Saturday morning (March 1st 2014). Almost two million people gather together in glittering costumes to celebrate the crack of dawn. Adding to the celebrations are the thirty or so Trio Eletricos with their awe-inspiring music and high intensity Samba beats.
Sao Paulo has a carnival similar to Rio albeit significantly cheaper. It too consists of a competition between the top Samba schools in the city in the local Sambodromo. This year’s parades will be on Friday 28th and Saturday 1st March 2014. After the event, the streets are filled with reveling fans, unwilling for the night to end. In Florianopolis treat yourself to a relaxed chilled out affair on the beach. The Porto Seguro Carnival is riotous as it begins with a beauty pageant and continues with the ever popular Trio Eletricos on the street. In Fortaleza Carnival, the performances are more inclined towards culture and history. The traditional Samba dancing is tinted with amazing acrobatics and mind blowing stunts. Finally the Buzios Carnival is widely electrifying. Being the most gay friendly city of Brazil, gays, lesbians, transvestites and drag queens take center stage in one exhilarating Carnival ride.