Like most big festivals, the Rio Carnival is the big bang before people take on the more serious and somber mood of the Lenten season. The biggest, the wildest and the greatest show on Earth, the Rio Carnival is a street party of gigantic proportions.
Rio Carnival will make Samba, an African dance brought by the slaves to Brazil, with upbeat rhythm and beats, resonate in high decibels all throughout the city of Rio de Janiero as Samba Schools parade and dance on the streets. Samba Schools does not have to be actual schools, this can be anyone, from large groups of friends, neighborhood communities or groups of families who just want to perform in the carnival.
Sambadrome, the highlight of the event, is the stadium of Samba, also considered the World’s biggest stage. There is a “runway” in the middle and concrete structures on both sides where the spectators will watch from. Though the Sambadrome itself is not very pretty, come carnival time, you would no longer notice the old, plain concrete structures. Lit up with thousands of lights enhanced by special light effects, filled with almost 75,000 people, all of whom are dressed up in colorful outfits, costumes and headdresses; the Sambadrome will look breathtaking.
Thousands of participants in costume in the Samba parade will surely wow locals and tourists alike. Imagine Lady Gaga outfits, crossed with Victoria’s Secrets Angels’ wings, accessories and ornaments and Las Vegas Drag Queens weaved together to create beautiful, colorful, and sparkly, over the top costumes. Some costumes, especially those worn by the “Queen” of each school, can be extremely skimpy and sexy. Imagine wearing these fabulous costumes and dancing ala Shakira or Beyonce, to non-stop, heart pounding Brazilian drum and bass performed by live bands. Imagine hundreds of thousands of people dancing in these costumes, the music of Samba is so complete you could feel it shaking the ground and the skies.
And to really feel the Carnival, why not join in the schools? Costumes can be ordered online and delivered to your address of choice, usually at a hotel in Rio. These costumes allow you to parade with a Samba school, giving you an unforgettable experience, singing and dancing (in costume) and being in the heart of the carnival. They will also send Mp3s and lyrics with the costumes so you can learn your Samba tunes.
There will be an explosion of feathers in the costumes as these symbolize the Brazilians ability to rise above problems. Massive floats will be at the parade symbolizing boat journeys on Brazil’s longest river. These floats are extremely artistic and creative; and most of the floats have their own light shows and mechanical techniques. It is simply breathtaking. The Parade can go on until Sunrise and spectators will be dancing and singing, drinking and eating, and the whole stadium will just vibrate with so much adrenaline. It’s the Brazilian version of New Year’s Eve, the Super bowl and Fourth of July rolled in one.
Outside the stadium, the whole of Rio are also partying, either in balls in the Copacabana Palace and beach or out in the streets. It doesn’t matter where you are in Rio during the Rio Carnival; you will surely feel the spirit of the festivities.
The roots of this event are from cultures and traditions from all over the country. The idea of the parade came from the Catholic idea of procession from the Portuguese, the dancing and drumming from the African Slaves, the soul from the indigenous Indians of Brazil, the daring and ambition from Brazilians in Sau Paulo, the ingenuity from the wild and unpredictable river of the Amazon and a strong sense of nationalism from each and every Brazilian.
Absolutely otherworldly, there are not enough superlatives to describe this experience. Rio Carnival is the ultimate Brazilian Pride and the most accurate expression of carpe diem.