Brazil may be famous for a large number of things, be its beautiful coasts, the incredible Brazilian football team or even its myriad of traditional foods, but if there is one thing about Brazil that everyone in the world knows, then it is the legendary Brazilian Carnival held every hear during the month of February.
Worlds Mardi Gras
Also known to the world as Mardi Gras of Brazil, the Brazilian Carnival stretches for an entire week when the every corner of every street in the whole country is filled with colourful parades including a plethora of dancers dressed in bright, over the top costumes, people dressed in costumes, music, fireworks and so on. It is celebrated 40 days before Easter, and is usually seen as a goodbye to the pleasures of the flesh with one last indulgence. Usually, it is celebrated on a Friday and is finished before Ash Wednesday.
But what is the origin of this festival? Well, there are a number of conflicting reports, but the most popular and common one suggests that this entire Carnival had its origin in the land of Greece. The people initiated it as a way of respecting and showing their devotion towards Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. Later, the Romans adopted this festival, wherein they honored Bacchus, the Roman equivalent of Dionysus. On this day, the streets turned into one big fete, and people drank and ate till they passed out. Over the years, the Roman Catholic Church transformed it into a celebration before Lent. A few hundred years later, it came to be what it is today- a day of insane celebrations including an excess indulgence in everything including food, wine, music, dancing and fun.
Now, various regions in Brazil have their own unique ways of celebrating the Carnival. For instance, Rio de Janeiro has the biggest, most extravagant and wildest Carnival celebration with over 100 parades in one week, almost all of which includes participations from students and members of various Samba groups and schools. Usually, every neighborhood has a certain group, who wear certain special shirts with unique logos or symbols. Back in the days, the poorest neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro were at the centre of the Carnival. Today, this day is seen as a unification between everyone in Rio, irrespective of their social status.
Bahia, on the other hand, is based on the African culture since most of its participants used to be Africans in the days. As a result of this, a large part of the prevalent music in the Bahian celebration of the Carnival was African, including samba-reggae, axe, funk-samba and so on.
In Sao Paolo, there is a samba competition between various samba schools, all of which base their performances on the nation’s history, culture and politics. Each of these schools have their own designed vehicles during their parades. It also includes a large number of street bands playing local music.
No matter what, Brazil is the place to be during the month of February!