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Brazilian Carnaval / Carnaval do Brazil
The Carnival of Brazil is an annual festival held forty-six days before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival," from carnelevare, "to remove (literally, "raise") meat." Carnival have roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Christianity, became a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ's death and resurrection. Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades ("blocos") allowing public participation can be found in other cities. The northeastern cities of Salvador, Porto Seguro and Recife have organized groups parading through streets, and public interacts directly with them. This carnival is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture. It's a six-day party where crowds follow the trios elétricos through the city streets, dancing and singing. Also in northeast, Olinda carnival features unique characteristics, part influenced by Venice Carnival mixed with cultural depictions of local folklore. The typical genres of music of Brazilian carnival are, in Rio de Janeiro (and Southeast Region in general): the samba-enredo, the samba de bloco, the samba de embalo and the marchinha; in Pernambuco and Bahia (and Northeast Region in general) the main genres are: the frevo, the maracatu, the samba-reggae and Axé music.
Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Excepted the industries, malls and the carnival related workers, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. The consumption of beer accounts for 80% of annual consumption and tourism receives 70% of annual visitors. The government distributes condoms and launches awareness campaigns at this time to prevent the spread of AIDS. Rio de Janeiro's carnival alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners. Hurting Cases parties from Paris. It originally mimicked the European form of the festival, later absorbing and creolizing elements derived from Native American and African cultures. In the late 19th century, the cordões (literally "cords", laces or strings in Portuguese) were introduced in Rio de Janeiro. These were pageant groups that paraded through city avenues performing on instruments and dancing. Today they are known as Blocos (blocks), consisting of a group of people who dress in costumes or special t-shirts with themes and/or logos. Blocos are generally associated with particular neighborhoods; they include both a percussion or music group and an entourage of revellers. Block parades have become an expressive feature of Rio's Carnival. Today, they number more than 100 and the groups increase each year. Blocos can be formed by small or large groups of revelers with a distinct title with an often funny pun. (Os blocos RJ, para os solteiros, são um lugar para conhecer e até beijar pessoas, or "The blocos in Rio de Janeiro, for the singles, are places to meet and even kiss people.") They may also note their neighborhood or social status. Before the show, they gather in a square, then parade in sections of the city, often near the beach. Some blocos never leave one street and have a particular place, such as a bar, to attract viewers. Block parades start in January, and may last until the Sunday after Carnival. There occur Blocos parades in nearly every neighborhood throughout the city and metropolitan areas, but the most famous are the ones in Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardim Botânico, and in downtown Rio. Organizers often compose their own music themes that are added to the performance and singing of classic "marchinhas" and samba popular songs. "Cordão do bola preta" ("Polka Dot Bloco"), that goes through the heart of Rio's historical center, and "Suvaco do Cristo" (Christ's statue armpit, referring to the angle of the statue seen from the neighborhood), near the Botanical Garden, are some of the most famous groups. Monobloco has become so famous that it plays all year round at parties and small concerts. Samba schools are very large groups of performers, financed by respected organizations (as well as illegal gambling groups), who work year round in preparation for Carnival. Samba Schools perform in the Sambadrome, which runs four entire nights. They are part of an official competition, divided into seven divisions, in which a single school is declared the winner, according to costume, flow, theme, and band music quality and performance. Some samba schools also hold street parties in their neighborhoods, through which they parade along with their followers. Carnival time in Rio is a very interesting, but is also the most expensive time to visit Rio. Hotel rooms and other lodgings can be up to 4 times more expensive than the regular rates. There are big crowds at some locations and life is far from ordinary in many parts of town. The carnival in São Paulo takes place in the Sambodrome of Anhembi on the Friday and Saturday night of the week of Carnival, as opposed to Rio’s Carnival, which is held on Sunday and Monday night. Various “samba schools” compete in a huge parade. Each school presents a different theme, which they expose through their costumes, dance, music and the “carros alegóricos” (also known as “trio elétrico”, huge vehicles decorated according to the theme designed specifically for the parade). The schools are responsible for choosing their own themes, which usually revolve around historical happenings or some sort of cultural or political movement. The most famous (and usually the winners) samba schools are: Nenê de Vila Matilde, Gaviões da Fiel, Vai-Vai, Camisa Verde e Branco, Unidos do Peruche, Mocidade Alegre and Rosas de Ouro (which in English translate to, respectively: Baby from Matilde Village; Sparrowhawks of the Faithful; Go-Go; Green and White Shirt; Peruche United; Happy Youth; and Golden Roses). Vai-Vai is the oldest school and has been the First Division champion most times (14 total, including the 2011 championship). It also is the most popular, for it has the most fans. There are several major differences between Carnival in the state of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil and Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. The musical styles are different at each carnival; in Bahia there are many rhythms, including samba, samba-reggae, axé, etc., while in Rio there is the multitude of samba styles: the "samba-enredo", the "samba de bloco", the "samba de embalo", the "funk-samba", as well as the famous "marchinhas" played by the "bandas" in the streets. Carnival circuit of the city of Salvador.In the 1880s, the black population commemorated the days of Carnival in its own way, highly marked by Yoruba characteristics, dancing in the streets playing instruments. This form was thought of as "primitive" by the upper-class white elite, and the groups were banned from participating in the official Bahia Carnival, dominated by the local conservative elite. The groups defied the ban and continued to do their dances. By the 1970s, four main types of carnival groups developed in Bahia: Afoxês, Trios Elétricos, "Amerindian" groups, and Blocos Afros. Afoxês use the rhythms of the African inspired religion, Candomblé. They also worship the gods of Candomblé, called orixás. An Electric Trio is characterized by a truck equipped with giant speakers and a platform where musicians play songs of local genres such as axé. People follow the trucks singing and dancing. The "Amerindian" groups were inspired by Western movies from the United States. The groups dress up as native Americans and take on native American names. Blocos Afros, or Afro groups, were influenced by the Black Pride Movement in the United States, independence movements in Africa, and reggae music that denounced racism and oppression. The groups inspired a renewed pride in African heritage. Today, Bahia's carnival consists mostly of Trios Elétricos, but there are still Blocos Afros and Afoxês. Every year, about half a million tourists are attracted to Salvador. It's also possible to watch everything from the Camarotes (ringside seats) spread out along the way, offering more comfort to the visitors. The North East state of Pernambuco has unique Carnivals in its present capital Recife and in its colonial capital Olinda. Their main rhythms are the frevo and the maracatu. Galo da Madrugada is the biggest carnival parade in the world, considering the number of participants, according The Guinness Book of World Records. It means "dawn's rooster" and parades, as the name suggests, in the morning only. Frevo is Pernambucan-style dance with African and acrobatic influences, as it is fast and electrifying, often using an open umbrella and frequent legs and arms movements. Unlike Salvador and Rio, the festivities in Recife, Olinda and Itamaraca do not include group competitions. Instead, groups dance and play instruments side by side. Troças and maracatus, mostly of African influence, begin one week before Carnival and end a week later. Some well-known groups have funny names, such as: Tell me you love me, damn eggymann (with a famous giant dancing doll that leads the group), Crazy Lover, Olinda's Underpants, and The Door. Held 40 days before Lent. Minas also holds some important carnival parades, mainly in the historic cities of Ouro Preto, Mariana and Diamantina. They are held mostly by students' houses, which attract a majority of young people from the neighbor states. There are also other major parades in the region, such as the one in Pompéu. Carnival in Minas Gerais is often characterized by blocos carnavalescos with varying themes and costume styles, almost always accompanied by a brass and drums band. However, Minas Gerais carnival was first influenced by the Rio de Janeiro Carnival (several cities have their own samba schools). Later some Axé groups from Bahia came to play in the state every carnival season. The Carnival of the city of Ouro Preto is very popular with college students in the area. The city has a large proportion of students, who during the year live in places called Repúblicas (a rented house maintained and ruled by themselves). During carnival, the Repúblicas are literally packed with residents and many visitors coming from all over the country. The hills prevent traffic of heavy sound trucks, but don't stop people from feasting all night and day. However, some view the Ouro Preto carnival festivities as a threat to the old and historical harmony of the region. According to one such person: the recent emergence of industry from the surrounding localities, population growth and a spike in street traffic have jeopardized Carnival as older citizens remember it. One cause for alarm is the street carnival of Ouro Preto, which attracts thrill-seeking students from across Brazil. The students crowd the streets while playing loud and arguably disruptive music. Originated in Bahia from the African rhythms, it was brought to Rio de Janeiro around 1920 and is still one of the most popular styles of Brazil, together with Samba-pagode and Samba-reggae (the band Olodum from Salvador da Bahia made samba-reggae famous). From intimate samba-cancões (samba songs) sung in bars to explosive drum parades performed during carnival, samba always evokes a warm and vibrant mood. Samba developed as a distinctive kind of music at the beginning of the 20th century in Rio de Janeiro (then the capital of Brazil). In the 1930s, a group of musicians led by Ismael Silva founded in the neighbourhood of Estácio de Sá the first Samba School, Deixa Falar. They transformed the musical genre to make it fit better the carnival parade. In this decade, the radio spread the genre's popularity all around the country, and with the support of the nationalist dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas, samba became Brazil's "official music." In the following years, samba has developed in several directions, from the gentle samba-canção to the drum orchestras which make the soundtrack of carnival parade. One of these new styles was bossa nova, a musical movement initially spearheaded by young musicians and college students from Rio de Janeiro. It got increasingly popular over time, with the works of João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim. In the sixties, Brazil was politically divided, and the leftist musicians of bossa nova started to draw attention to the music made in the favelas. Many popular artists were discovered at this time. Names like Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Velha Guarda da Portela, Zé Keti, and Clementina de Jesus recorded their first albums. In the seventies, the samba got back to radio. Composers and singers like Martinho da Vila, Clara Nunes and Beth Carvalho dominated the hit parade. In the beginning of the eighties, after having been sent to the underground due to styles like disco and Brazilian rock, Samba reappeared in the media with a musical movement created in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. It was the pagode, a renewed samba, with new instruments, like the banjo and the tantan, and a new language, more popular, filled with slang. The most popular names were Zeca Pagodinho, Almir Guineto, Grupo Fundo de Quintal, Jorge Aragão, and Jovelina Pérola Negra. Various samba schools have been founded throughout Brazil. A samba school combines the dancing and party fun of a night club with the gathering place of a social club and the community feeling of a volunteer group. During the spectacular Rio Carnival famous samba schools parade in the Sambódromo.



See Also:
ManausMapThings to doLandmarksHistoryUseful InfoWeatherRubber TreeAmazon TheatreNative Brazilian / IndegenousStick InsectSurvival in the Amazon JungleTarantulaBrazilian CarnavalCaiman / AlligatorTermitesAmazon River Dolphins / Pink DolphinsPiranhaSpidersWater LiliesMeeting of the WatersAmazon River / Amazonas RivesAmazon Jungle / Amazonas Jungle

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