Brazilian Carnival is an annual festival held in Brazil that dates back to the 1800’s. The carnival starts the Friday before Ash Wednesday and concludes at noon on Ash Wednesday. It is a celebration of excess and indulgence before lent begins. The celebration includes parades, extravagant costumes, floats, dancing, live music, food and drinks, and live performances in the street. The music heard playing in the streets is Samba. Rio de Janeiro has the most famous Brazilian Carnival celebration but it is celebrated throughout Brazil, with each state having a different version of the Carnival.
Blocos, or groups of people from different neighborhoods in the same costuming, are a major part of Brazilian Carnival in Rio. They march through the streets playing music and dancing. Samba schools compete during Carnival and one school is named the top Samba school. They play what is known as marchinhas.
Bahia style Brazilian Carnival is very similar to Rio. However, they have a different style of Samba which is more African influenced and has an almost Reggae sound. They also have a more western influence and some groups will dress as Native Americans. This Carnival is highly influenced by Reggae and Western culture.
Pernambuco has a big difference from the previous two. They only have parades in the morning. Pernambuco also differs in the fact that they do not have competitions. Brazilian Carnival here is more unified with everyone dancing and singing in the streets as one.
Sao Paulo Brazilian Carnival also has a similar feel to Rio and Bahia. The Samba schools here compete in a giant parade as well, however each school has a different theme. The school chooses a historical theme and represents the theme through music, dance, costumes and parade floats.
The Brazilian states welcome tourists for Brazilian Carnival. Nearly a million tourists flock to Brazil each year to experience this one of a kind celebration. The Carnival might appear to be only a party to those outside of Brazil but this is actually a very important tradition and celebration of Brazilian culture and heritage.