How it all started?here are many theories as to the origin of the Carnival with stories of it being a pagan celebration in ancient Rome. Carnival balls became popular in Rio in the nineteenth century with legendary balls held at the Copacabana Palace Hotel and the Municipal Theater. The inevitable influence of Afro-Brazilian culture in the form of the samba heralded the beginning of the Samba Parade in the 1930s. It is the ethnic melting pot of Rio that makes this festival unlike any in the world. The combination of the cultural diversity and Brazilian swing rhythm is what makes the Carnival in Rio so unique.
Those old world pagans sure knew how to translate religion into party. In Catholic Europe beginning in theMiddle Ages, all decadent food and drink had to be consumed prior to Lent to remove temptation during the 40-day period of fasting leading up to Easter (Carnival period begins on the Saturday before Lent and ends on Shrove Tuesday, also called Fat Tuesday). Historically, winter supplies were emptied in an all-out, gluttonous feast of the flesh to welcome the spring. As these traditions migrated to the Portuguese colony of Brazil, Rio Carnival transformed into something new . While the reformations and Inquisition attempted to sweep Europe of sin and tamed the wild feasts, the church could not contain what had developed in the Southern Hemisphere.
The schools of samba are a musical genre symbolizing Brazil. At the Sambadrome each school plays out its own story with a common theme ranging from politics to arts and sports. What everyone looks forward to apart from the dancers is each team’s unique song, creative costumes, and choreography. Each Samba School tries to be more creative than its competitor. From levitation to a flying astronaut, the Sambadrome is always full of surprises. And each year the schools seem more and more creative as rich imagination give way to show stopping flights of fancy.
Glorious Themes and Samba Schools:
One of the best and most accessible ways to celebrate Carnival is by attending a bloco or banda (street parties). It’s basically a band of drummers leading a free dance party in the streets for all who want to join in. It’s a come one, come all dance-off and as memorable as the samba parades. The blocos are the party of the people. According to police estimates, in 2012 one bloco reached more than 5 million participants. The Banda de Ipanemaisespecially famous, with a very lively crowd complete with drag queens and costumed dancers.
The most elegant and upscale of the Rio events are the Carnival balls . The most famous are theCopacabana Magic and Scala balls. The Copacabana Magic Ball is the most glamorous, attracting the celebrities of Rio (though behind the masks and makeup you might never know it).
Have a Ball: