New Year’s celebrations can be found all around the world as grand parties and events are held in spectacular fashion to bring everyone together to mark another year gone by and start afresh another 365-day countdown. But don’t put your dance shoes and party spirit away just yet as another fabulous celebration will begin less than eight weeks into 2013 and to be a part of it, you need to start planning now if you want to get to Brazil in time. Carnival will soon be upon us and this is the party and parade that simply cannot be out-done by another other! Make 2013 the year you find yourself enjoying everything that Rio de Janeiro has to offer and what better time than during Carnival!
Forty days before Easter, Brazilians right across the country engage in celebrations big and small, but the most vibrant and colorful of all, and no doubt the most famous one the world has ever known is the Carnival held in Rio. This annual four-day event is a wild party that has everyone singing and dancing and just over-indulging in everything that is pleasing. It is a festival that is meant to celebrate the luxuries of life in the few days before Lent, when abstaining from such luxuries is the sacrifice or penitence that a believer observes in preparation for Easter – giving up comforts and pleasures for forty days.
Carnival 2013 begins on Saturday February 9th and ends on “fat Tuesday”, which is so named because that is the last day that individuals would engage in the practice of eating richer and fattier foods before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. “Fat Tuesday” or “mardi Gras” is the celebration that is most famously attributed to New Orleans, where similar to Rio, people engage in a wild party in the streets with song and dance and parades. Another name for this day is Shrove Tuesday.
Carnival in Rio is a big production, with people preparing for it months in advance. It is not just a parade of people running rampant in the streets having fun. Along with the street festivals that you can participate in, there are planned events that are meaningful and very well representative of the Brazilian culture.
The Samba Parade is the highlight of the Rio Carnival and it involves people in various neighborhoods coming together to form a highly detailed and organized group that will compete against one another through displays of costumes, dances, floats, and songs as coordinated by a designer. Each samba school presents a theme and everything displayed is judged overall. This highly competitive event is held in the grand venue called the Sambodromo (Sambadrome as it is known in English), in which visitors can purchase tickets to, to witness the outstanding parade, while many others can catch the broadcast of it on TV.
Costumes and floats are detailed and elaborate, not to mention vivacious, animated and colorful. The parade is immensely entertaining for all, both locals and visitors alike. In fact it is Carnival that attracts the largest number of tourists each year to Rio.
There are a multitude of Carnival balls that you can purchase tickets to attend but there are many free events that you can join in on like the numerous street parties. There are street bands to entertain and even street rehearsals that you might catch. During Carnival, there is nothing that will go unnoticed because everything that is going on is extravagant!