Friday, May 29, 2009
Carnaval is a celebration that unifies, easily crossing racial, social and political barriers. The annual spectacle is one of the most profound symbols of Brazil. The celebration marks the beginning of Lent, the Roman Catholic period of abstinence leading up to Easter Sunday.
Throughout Brazil the Carnaval celebration has taken on many different forms. In Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo samba schools from dozens of neighborhoods compete with lavish spectacles based on the year's theme. Each school involves thousands of performers and behind-the-scenes supporters, and as such each school serves as an important center of activity and pride for its community. Enormous floats, huge drum , swirling baianas and, of course, electrifying samba mark each school's performance.
Similarly, in Bahia, Brazil, Carnaval is a massive celebration in the streets. Samba, samba reggae and other musical styles pour from the trio-electrico
(the truck-based stages which are lined with deafening banks of speakers).