Brazilian Carnival History - 5 Interesting Facts You Didn't Know
Brazil's most famous celebration is Carnival. It lasts for almost a week, 46 days before Easter.
Brazilian Carnival History goes back hundreds of years. Here are some very interesting things that are part of the long history of Carnival.
Brazilian Carnaval History Started With a Portuguese Tradition. Prior to Lent, the 46 days of sacrifice leading up to Easter, it became the tradition to have a big blow out. During Lent people weren't allowed to have parties or eat sweets or rich foods. In Portugal, that celebration became the Entrudo. Everyone threw mud, water and dirt at each other.
Modern Brazilian Carnaval History Started in the 1800's. In the middle of the 1800's a cobbler named José Nogueira de Azevedo started having parades with his friends and family. In 1855 a more organized parade called the Grandes Sociedades, or Great Societies, started. The aristocrats and even the Emperor were involved. In 1870 a more common paradestarted, complete with traditions of wearing masks and costumes.
Samba Schools Are a 20th Century Part of Brazilian Carnaval History. The samba schools are a huge part of Carnival, especially in Rio. They are what people outside of Brazil think about when they here about Carnival. But, they are a relatively new part of it's History. Mangueira is the oldest of the schools, having been founded in 1928. When the school first started, the samba was almost exclusively danced in the lower classes. It wasn't until the 1960's and 70's that it started gaining popularity among the middle and upper classes.
Brazilian Carnaval History Has Heavy African Influences. Slaves were brought into Brazil. As they escaped and were freed they started having their own Carnival celebrations. The influences come mainly from the Yoruba people. The Yoruba people are in Western Africa, mostly Nigeria. These influences are seen mostly in the Bahia Carnival style.
Brazilian Carnival Isn't Just One Style. Part of the Brazilian Carnaval History is that each area of Brazil has its own distinctive style. There are now 4 major styles, and several smaller types. The style most commonly associated with Carnival is the Rio de Janerio type. This style has the samba schools and big parades done by the schools. There are over 100 block parades that take place in Rio during Carnival.
Bahia has a heavy Yoruba influence that is seen especially in the music. Instead of just straight samba music it adds in reggae and axe. They have 4 main Carnival groups, mostly broken down by costuming and music. One is the Trios Eletricos, or live music groups, that parade on speaker laden trucks. Pernambuco is the next style. Instead of having samba as its main music and dancing style it has frevo, which is fast, athletic and acrobatic.
The final style is Minas Gerais. This Carnival style is very attractive to young people and takes place around student housing. It has been influenced by the Rio and Bahia styles.
Brazilian Carnival History is richer, more varied and more interesting than most people think. There is much more to Carnival than just parties.Apply rewr