Rio Carnaval

CARNAVAL CARNAVAL!

Did you know that the word Carnaval comes from Latin (Carnis Levale) which means 'farewell to meat'? The Carnaval culminates on 'Fat Tuesday' - this year February 28th - which is the day immediately prior to beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday. So the Carnaval is always about 40 days before Easter, and this applies to Rio, Venice, Recife and pretty much everywhere.

Here in Rio things are of course in a bit of overdrive. It's great - what most people don't know is that the Carnaval mostly happens in the streets. The street parties, called blocos, happen all over the city and there are probably about 300 of them in Rio over the Carnaval week. We have lots of choice!  

This is from a bloco by Gigantes da Lira dance group. They cater specifically to children. 

This is from a bloco by Gigantes da Lira dance group. They cater specifically to children. 

The street parties are for everyone, and many small local dance and music groups get to show their chops in them. Some are small  and some are big, but all of them are loud. 

Lili dressed up for the bloco - her best new dress is a gift from Abdou and Carey in Morocco. Throwing confetti was fun - if you look at the ground you can see it is covered in round confetti - here they use the stuff you get when you empty a hole punch.

Lili dressed up for the bloco - her best new dress is a gift from Abdou and Carey in Morocco. Throwing confetti was fun - if you look at the ground you can see it is covered in round confetti - here they use the stuff you get when you empty a hole punch.

February is the hottest month of the year in Rio and every day we have been here it has been over +30C. this is why the Carnaval mostly happens at night. The block parties tend to be at 7 or 8 in the morning or at 8 at night. No one does samba at midday! 

These costumes were so cool. I said they would work great in anatomy class! 

These costumes were so cool. I said they would work great in anatomy class! 

The official samba competition takes place at the Rio Sambodromo. There are four nights of competition and then the winners parade the following weekend. The competitions start at around 8 pm and go on until about 5 in the morning. Yikes!

Isabela, Daniel and Lili having fun. A huge bloco just passed by in the street. 

Isabela, Daniel and Lili having fun. A huge bloco just passed by in the street.