Across the Equator

South American Adventures

Previous Entry Share Next Entry
The Carnaval Parade
losmorris
And finally, the really big event. Twelve of us went together in a rented van. Don’t we look perky as we start out for the very, very long evening?



Well in advance of the Carnaval parade we had purchased tickets for the Special Group competition / parade. Six samba schools parade each night on the Sunday and Monday nights preceding Ash Wednesday. After the competition the lowest ranked of the schools is dropped from the Special Group of 12 and the highest ranking school from the level below is brought into the Special Group.

However, in 2011 there was a major fire in the Cidade de Samba facility where costumes and floats are made. Three schools suffered damage and the samba association determined that no school would be dropped. Hence this year there are 13 schools. The event begins at 9 p.m. and, amazingly for Brazil, actually does begin on time. We went on Sunday night when 7 schools would be competing. So at about an hour and 15 minutes per school you see where I am going – we were at the event until about 7a.m. the following morning. I have now become a great fan of Red Bull. Three to four cans seem to do it for me though by 7 in the morning I was plenty tired.

Our group had rented two “frisas” down on street level. Each of these outdoor, uncovered boxes has seating for 6 and an incredible view of the activities. Most people came with some degree of Carnaval attire to participate in the event.


.....


Others went with the dapper sporty look.

Leading off the parade activities is the entrance of King Momo, a tradition in Brazilian Carnaval. This is a position of honor and one that requires attendance at many events throughout the Carnaval season. Together with his queen he opens the night and welcomes the crowd.



The best word to describe the Carnaval Parade is overwhelming. Each of the samba schools has 3,500 – 4,000 participants. Each school has 6 – 10 floats. The cost to each school is US$4-5 million. The costumes are incredible, the floats are amazing, and the music gets inside of you. That being said, I will cease with the commentary and provide a small sample of photos from an amazing night. This event should surely be on everyone’s “bucket list”.

The flag bearers – or porta bandeiras – are the women who carry the samba schools’ flag and dance with it the whole length of the Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí:


...

...

...

...




Each school uses a number of floats, or carros alegoricos, to express their theme and to add grandeur to the event. Here is a sample of some of the floats and their riders.


...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...



And, of course, the cute couple is participating in all things Carnaval...




...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...
\...
...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...



Before I move on to the costumes and the tens of thousands of participants in the parade I need to share some photos of the heroes of the event. Whenever crowds accumulate, trash accumulates - be it coconuts on the beach, beer cans left behind, or general dust and such from the Carnaval paraders – Comlurb is there. They are the municipal trash collection agency and they are fabulous! And, at the Sambodromo, they not only sweep the street between samba schools, they also dance and entertain.

They were as well received as any samba school.


...


They dance, they clean, they are wonderful1

But the really incredible, overwhelming Carnaval parade experience is the massive wave of people from the communities that participate in the parade. Most of the samba schools, perhaps all, come from pretty humble communities. Places that tourists do not visit unless accompanied by tourist guides. But the spirit and commitment these people bring to the experience are overwhelming. They practice for months, they wear costumes that – in some cases – are very bulky and hot. But they participate in the parade and you sense that they are fully committed. So I will share more. But I recognize that some folk might want to head for the "hot chicks" first, so will respect that. This is, after all, Carnaval.....




...

...

...

...

...


...
And then there are the many participants that parade forth in costume. Remember, each school has 3,500-4,000 participants. Every one of them arrives in costume.


...


...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...


It is impossible to capture Carnaval with still pictures. It is truly overwhelming and I feel so fortunate that we have had the opportunity to see it twice.

Comments Disabled:

Comments have been disabled for this post.

?

Log in

No account? Create an account