The Biggest Brazilian Celebration
By Katia Barber

The lyrics of this old samba (the Brazilian carnival song) are the best summary to describe how the locals, as well as foreigners, feel when they are part of the biggest party on Earth: the carnival in Brazil.

Wondering why? Try to visualize thousands of people in elaborate costumes, dancing together on an avenue-turned-runway, followed by a spectacle of lights, musical instruments, and over-the-top parade floats, singing the samba aloud with the help of a crowd of almost 100,000 viewers sitting in the avenue stands. You are, then picturing the Samba parade in Rio de Janeiro city, the heart of the carnival party.

How amazing is it to find that it all starts up in the hills and on the city’s outskirts in poor shantytowns called favelas where the poorest Brazilians live? The parade is divided into 14 groups, the Escolas de Samba. It’s the slum-dwellers from each neighborhood who do the creative parts of the parade. They are in charge of activities such as the songs, costumes, accessories, and gigantic floats.


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May/June 2020