Parades, parties, pageantry: What to know about Rio’s Carnival

World

After weeks of sweaty, pulsating street parties, the Rio Carnival reaches its crescendo this Sunday with its main event, in which samba schools compete in dazzling parades.
Here are five things to know about the Rio Carnival:

The Sambodrome

Rio de Janeiro vibrates with Carnival fever throughout February. Still, the main event is the parade of samba schools through the massive “Sambodrome” venue.
For two nights, the schools — community organizations deeply rooted in Brazil’s vibrant samba culture — try to out-strut, out-shimmy, and out-shine their competitors in massive parades.
These feature elaborate, massive floats, fantastical costumes, and intricate choreography by performers dancing to the beats of a specially composed samba.
Each parade can include up to 3,000 participants who move up the 700-meter (2,300-foot) long avenue flanked by up to 70,000 spectators.
This year, 12 schools will compete for the coveted title of Carnival champion.
Much like football teams, each school has its fervent fans.
There are also different divisions in which schools rise and fall — and getting to the main competition in the Sambodrome is no easy feat. Rio de Janeiro alone has 120 schools.
Those who make it are called the “Special Group.”
They put on a million-dollar production, with up to 75 minutes to seduce the jury with their story told in music and dance.
Themes often revolve around social and political issues or key historical events.
Tickets to the event cost between $14 and $400.

Street Carnival

For most revelers, the real Carnival happens far from the iconic Sambodrome, in hedonistic street “blocos.”
These parties, whose name refers to the neighborhood blocks they are held on, are thronged by thousands, some of whom dance in place, while others move through the streets following bands performing live music.
Drums, costumes, and flowing alcohol — even when the party starts early in the morning — are the name of the game.
Blocos mostly have themes, and there are some for all tastes. Loucura Surburbana (Suburban Madness) and Zona Mental are for patients and workers from mental health hospitals.
The “Sergeant Pepper” Bloco plays Beatle songs, Besame Mucho (Spanish for Kiss Me a Lot) plays samba versions of famous tangos, and even the infectious tune “Despacito.”
This year, there will be some 600 blocks in the city.

Serious business

Behind the pleasure-fueled festivities lies some serious money.
This year, the Rio Carnival received its largest-ever cash injection from the state government, 62.5 million reais (USD 12.5 million), 40 million of which went to the samba schools.
The Rio prefecture allocated them another 40 million reais.
According to official statistics, Carnival will bring in about USD 1 billion to the local economy.
This is 18 percent more than in 2023.
The whole of Brazil will see its economy boosted by $1.8 billion.

Water guns and urine

Carnival is not all fun and games, with crowded events rife with opportunities for pick-pockets.
The northeastern state of Bahia has recently banned water pistols at parties after images went viral of a woman being surrounded and pushed around by a group of men carrying the toys.
And beneath the glamour and glitter lies a lot of pee.
The city of Rio has announced that once the party is over, it will use 2,000 liters of concentrated eucalyptus essence to rid the streets of urine odor.

Other cities party, too

Rio may be the most emblematic of Brazil’s Carnival extravaganza, but many of the country’s cities come to a standstill.
Authorities estimate some 15 million people will take to the streets in the economic powerhouse Sao Paulo, which boasts 500 blocks.
Some five million people will party in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte. At the same time, another three million will join in on the fun in northeastern Recife. That city holds the Guinness Record for the biggest bloco, bringing together 2.5 million people last year.

You May Also Like

King Charles thanks well-wishers after cancer diagnosis
Decisions 2024: As counting is in progress, ECP says web blackout won’t influence its framewor

Must Read

Latest News

World

Business

Entertainment

No results found.

Sports