Carnival is a festive period that has it’s origins back in the XI century. It started along with the celebrations of the Holy Week. The Holy Week’s celebrations according to the Catholic Church are preceded by a period of 40 days of fasting, known as Lent. Preceding this long period of privations, it was customary for the folk of those times to celebrate and take part in the festivities in the ceaseless search of mundane pleasures up until Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. The meaning of the word “Carnival” has it’s origins in this concept of saying “goodbye to meat”.
The modern Carnival, followed by the parades and fancy costumes is a product of the Victorian society of the 19th century. Paris was the first exporter of Carnival celebrations, acting as an inspiration to Nice, New Orleans, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro. French characters such as the Colombina, the Pierrot ad the King Momo were also incorporated into the Brazilian Carnival. The first organized car parades started taking place around the beginning of the 20th century. Decorated cars would parade around town during Carnival, fueled by the famous Carnival songs, popularly known as “Marchinhas”, which contributed to Carnival becoming such a popular celebration.
In the Northeast region the street Carnival traditions prevails. In Recife giants dolls have become one of the major Carnival attractions. They parade around town followed by the rhythms of Frevo and Maracatu, whereas in Bahia the street Carnival counts on the Electric Trios (Trio Eletricos) to have everyone dancing to their high-energy Axe music. Salvador’s street Carnival was recorded in the Guinness Book as the greatest street party in the world back in 2005.
The celebration of Carnival takes place before the arrival of Easter, which happens on the first Sunday that follows the first spotted full moon with the arrival of Spring (in the Northern hemisphere) or Fall (in the Southern hemisphere) and Good Friday which precedes Easter Sunday. The first Tuesday of Carnival falls 47 days before Easter.
Carnival in Brazil in 2011 – Starts March 5 th.
S.F – will have Carnival party too.