The carnival in Recife and Olinda is different because of the street parties, kind of music and other traditions.
When it comes to the Carnival in Brazil, Rio and the Sambadrome are up for some stiff competition from the cities of Olinda and Recife. Both these cities are internationally famous for their Carnival celebrations. So, if you want to experience the Carnival spirit, be there between Friday, February 8th and Tuesday, February 12th in 2013. Of course, preparations begin way in advance so you are bound to catch some action right from the beginning of February.
The Carnival in Olinda, like its neighbor, Recife, is organized by the people with the objective of everyone joining in to experience the Carnival spirit. Olinda, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1982, offers visitors a unique experience they are not likely to forget in a lifetime. The city has a style of its own where much of the fun and frolic takes place on the streets and small squares. Revelers head straight for the historic center or "Cidade Alta", which is the liveliest place during the Carnival.
Streets like Rua Bernardo Vieira de Melo and Rua do Bonfim fill up with revelers before lunch time, turning into one giant party by the end of the day. Every street is marked by its own bloco or Carnival street band, with each retaining its own unique style. Energetic crowds dance to the rhythms of drums and horns in an array of the most creative and hilarious costumes which you cannot afford to miss. Olinda is an excellent choice if you want to celebrate the Carnival with a native Brazilian feel. The Carnival gets going two weeks before the official beginning.
A bloco or street party known as the " New Virgens do Bairro Novo de Olinda” with a 200,000 strong crowd is the first to herald in the Carnival celebrations. The crowds get bigger as the parade heads down along the seafront on Sunday before the official start of the Carnival. Colorful streamers, banners, and lanterns bring life to every nook and corner of the city.
The first to parade at the Carnival in Olinda on Friday are the Bonecos, which are giant papier-mâché puppets who officially launch the Carnival week. Of course, there are hundreds of groups that parade through the city at scheduled times. Among the prominent performances of the day are the Pitombeira and Elefantes. To see the wildest costumes on display do watch the transvestite groups who strut their stuff during the day of the Carnival Friday.
The passion for frevo is felt the strongest at the Carnival in Recife, with the unique native Indian and African maracatu beats leaving the revelers craving for more. The high energy sounds of the frevo is at the forefront on early Saturday morning with the Desfile do Galo da Madrugada (Parade of the Rooster of the Early Hour) setting off the largest Carnival in the world alight. You can join the crowd of over 2 million along the four kilometer route around the central area of Recife, partying until the crack of dawn.
Another spectacular event is The Night of the Silent Drums that takes place at Praça Terco in Recife. The center turns into a mini Africa where the drums beat to the rhythms of the samba, afoxe, maracatus, and reggae, getting more and more intense as midnight approaches. At the stroke of midnight, the drums fall silent in tribute to the town’s ancestors, followed by a prayer offered by the priestess of Umbanda, the Afro-Brazilian religion. This is a great sight to watch as the locals lift up their hands in gratitude to their god.