Carnival in Rio

Brazil - Posted On

Arriving two weeks before the start of the carnaval of Rio, I understood I had no choice but staying there for that huge internationally famous event.

Carnaval is the biggest feast in Brazil, a huge national event. People work on this all year round, just for 4 days of cheering.

Every city, every village has their own event, but the one of Rio is definitely the most famous. As so often with big festivals you got the festival official, cost a lot, and the off part, the popular, the one I am up to see. Every neighborhood of the city is gets something. As I am in Niteroi I end up the first night in the street there. Even if not everyone is dressed up there's a good half of the people changed in rabbit, wolf, bear, or princess. A big bunch of people take the occasion to change sexe appearance, I can see heaps of "girls" with suspect beards, and some "guys" looking very handsome...

My friend Paulo is one of them, crazy dancing everywhere on the sound of the band. I quickly learn to dance Samba. But how would I ever get the speed and the professional of a native here? Everyone knows the samba here. It´s like skiing for us, people from Grenoble. Even before you know how to walk, you are taught to the samba! Bottom shaking, legs and feet moving very very quickly, what for a big energy this music gives to the people!

Another day of it drives us to the real centre of Rio de Janeiro, passing by the sambadrome, where hundreds of disguised carriages from tenths escuelas de Samba come with thousands of dancers with astonishing disguisements, colorfully and very very complex. That's where the all TV cameras of the world are pointed in, the international lookout of the Carnaval of Rio. Each year, more and more seats are reserved for young people from the favellas who get involved in their local samba schools. This to say how samba, like football is a social lift and allow to drive some of the poor people of the favellas in a socially involved direction.

Being in the middle of this dressed up crazy crowd, right here in Rio and thinking I came here just by riding a bike give a feeling quite funny. Caipirinha, caipivodka, Brazilian specialty, are sold in the street, helping to the night fever. A blocko is a samba school which makes a show, with a disguised carriage and a good bunch of 50 people playing batucada and dancing. The whole avenue is full of them, hundreds are playing at the same time and going forward, not much knowing where, but surely there would be party time anyway.

Coming back to Niteroi on a ferry, a tall “Indian” start a popular song, everyone in the ferry sing with him, people start dancing, the carnaval fever contaminated a boat.