February 9th, 2012

Rio Street Carnaval

Nothing says Rio like Carnaval. As this is our 2nd year in Rio we at least had some idea what to expect but that did not take away any of the enjoyment or amazement at the whole Carnaval season. While the outside world hears mostly about the parade at the Sambodromo, Carnaval is truly a season. The street events (Carnaval na Rua) go on for about 5 weeks and are open to participation by anyone. Streets are closed; parades fill the streets and thousands of people party in the street enjoying the sun, the music, the spirit and the beer. So, as I did last year, I will share a bit of each major aspect of Carnaval. But truly – this should be on everyone’s “bucket list”. Visit Rio for the week before the Carnaval parade to enjoy the community spirit and stay for the Sambodromo parade. None of this comes cheap but you will not regret it.

In an attempt to maintain order during a chaotic time, the city requires that the blocos register their street events. Streets are closed accordingly and a schedule is published for party goers to plan their time. Some of the younger, more energetic cariocas will attempt to get to 4 or 5 events a day. Our top is probably 2 or 3. A “bloco” is generally a community based group that does some amount of preparation for each year’s carnaval – a theme, a song, etc. In some cases they parade and streets will be closed for several hours while the participants move slowly through the city. Parades start and stop and may take hours to go just a few blocks. This is all about audience participation and a party atmosphere so the parade is really just a moving party. In other cases, the bloco is stationary and represents a street party with a theme. In all cases the beer and beverage vendors are present and music fills the air.

Our favorite blocos this year had a variety of themes.

The Bloco dos Bichos Collapse )

The Bloco Infantil Collapse )