In my house, we had this Monopoly Global board game and I used to play it often with my family. Every single time we played, my first buy would always be Rio De Jeneiro. Now, as an adult when I got the chance to visit Rio for the first time, my trip was carefully planned to capture the best I could with such a short time. Needless to say, as the title of the article suggests, the best time to visit Rio is the carnival season. It is true that during that time the accommodation and other necessities are a bit expensive than normal, but Rio carnival is a one time experience you most certainly would not regret. This article is a short sum up about the carnivals in Rio, so that you won’t miss one when you visit Rio.
The Rio carnival is a festival held every year and is considered the biggest carnival in the world with two million people per day on the streets. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723, and was celebrated in honor of the gods and to respect the great waters; the rivers.
The typical Rio carnival parade is composed of revelers, floats, and adornments from numerous samba schools which are located in Rio. A samba school is a collaboration of local neighbours that want to attend the carnival together, with some kind of regional, geographical and common background binding them together. They show their region’s pride by wearing colorful traditional wear and performing traditional dances. The parade usually takes place in Sambadrome.
There is a special order that every school has to follow when their parade enters. Each school begins with the “comissão de frente” (“Front Commission”), which is the group of people from the school that appear first. Made of ten to fifteen people, the “comissão de frente” introduces the school and sets the mood and style of their presentation. Much like an introduction. These people perform dances in fancy costumes that usually tell a small story. Following the “comissão de frente” is the first float of the samba school, called “abre-alas” (“Opening Wing”). These are followed by the Mestre-sala and Porta- Bandeira (“Master of Ceremonies and Flag Bearer”), with one to four pairs, to lead the dancers, which include the old guard veterans and the “ala das baianas”, with the bateria at the rear and sometimes a brass section and guitars.
As the parade is taking place in the Sambadrome and the balls are being held in beaches, many carnival participants are at other locations, enjoying the city.
Street festivals are very common during carnival and are highly populated by locals as well as tourists. Music and dancing are extremely common. Anyone is allowed to participate in the street festivals. Bandas and blocos are very familiar with the street carnival especially because it takes nothing to join in on the fun except to jump in. One of the most well-known bandas of Rio is Banda de Ipanema. Banda de Ipanema was first created in 1965 and is a very popular street band.
The most famous dance is called a ‘carnival samba’, a Brazilian dance with some African influences. The samba remains a popular dance not only in carnival but in the ghettos outside of the main cities. These villages keep alive the historical aspect of the dance without the influence of the western cultures, making these carnivals unique in its own way.
Music is another major part of all aspects of the carnival. As declared by Samba City, “Samba Carnival Instruments are an important part of Brazil and the Rio de Janeiro carnival, sending out the irresistible beats and rhythms making the crowd explode in a colorful dance revolution fantasy fest!” The samba that is found in Rio is battucanada, referring to the dance and music being based on percussion among other instruments. It is a very common scenery to see tourists join in these dances and enjoy the usic.
A carnival Queen, much similar to a beauty pageant is selected during the carnival. The Queen of the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro and up to two princesses are selected, along with the King Momo. In the competitions, princesses are usually placed as second and third, and are placed correspondingly 1st and 2nd Princess. Some of them after the reign become queens or battery bridesmaids.
The Carnival began on Friday and ends on Ash Wednesday.Parade happens on the Saturday after the carnival ends. Following are the upcoming carnival dates, according to Wikipedia. If you are planning to travel to Rio in the near future, don’t miss out on one of those.
Rio carnival 2019 – March 1 to 6, 2019
Rio carnival 2020 – February 21 to 26, 2020
Rio carnival 2021 – February 12 to 17, 2021
Rio carnival 2022 – February 15 to 20, 2022