… just in time for Carnaval! While this time of year is celebrated all around the world in various ways, I want to be in Rio de Janeiro so badly that I can taste the feijoada and feel the beat of the samba drum vibrating in my bones.
Beginning tomorrow night and continuing through Tuesday night, a wild, joyful combination of parades, Carnival balls, street parties, and general merrymaking will overtake Rio in the annual celebration that takes place just before Lent, known as Carnival. According to The Encyclopedia of Easter, Carnival & Lent, the country-wide party started with the arrival of the Portuguese in Brazil during the 16th century, when the colonists brought the tradition with them. Over the centuries, the customs changed, particularly with the addition of African cultural influences following the abolition of slavery in Brazil in 1888, and the development of the samba schools in the 1930s. Things got seriously organized when they built the Sambadromo in 1984, a half-mile long samba stadium that seats about 70,000 spectators. There, the elaborate floats, flag bearers, samba dancers, drummers and singers process down the runway, past the judges and the crowd, representing their community and neighborhood through music, dance and prodigiously-costumed spectacle.
Clearly, I’m not going to make it there in body, but I will get there in spirit, via the library, with these DVDs and CDs from our collection: