Is Rio de Janeiro world famous for its spectacular carnival and awesome beauties, year after year industrial and economic centre São Paulo is trying to excel Rio in luxurious floats as well as in breathtaking beauties.
Glamour, glitter, sensuality, competing samba schools and millions of euros are however not part of the carnival in all Brazilian communities. There are Brazilian towns where carnival still is what it was and should be, ordinary people enjoying and participating in traditional street carnival. No sensuality, no spectacular semi-nude queens, no floats, no millions. Just traditional local music and fun, much, much fun. The original sound of carnival.
Let’s visit 7 places, Florianópolis, Ouro Preto, São Luís do Paraitinga and of course Salvador, Recife and Olinda. Number 7? That’s a surprise, wait and see.
This post will describe the first three in a bird’s-eye view. Salvador, Recife, Olinda and No. 7 deserve some special treatment.
Who thinks Florianópolis has no Carnaval is wrong. In the most festive time of the year the streets of this island-capital of the federal state of Santa Catarina in the south are invaded by catarinense carnival blocks, bringing residents and tourists together in an unstoppable agitation.
The most famous block is the “Bloco de Sujos” (the Dirty Sods), where in the centre of the city men dress as woman - this year, the parade of the block took place on Saturday (21). Sambaqui and Santo Antônio de Lisboa are neighbourhoods in Florianópolis with a long carnival tradition. In the latter, for example, the parades of the blocks Avante and Baiacú were on Friday (20) and Monday (23). Just in the street, free to the public to enjoy.
Site Florianópolis: www.visitefloripa.com.br
In Ouro Preto, a town in the federal state of Minas Gerais, famous for its magnificent colonial architecture, carnival blocks have a long tradition. During carnival, the excitement with the blocks on the slopes of the mining town is contagious. The first block of the city came in 1867 and is still successful in Ouro Preto. The “Zé Pereira Clube dos Lacaios” was founded by officials (lackeys) of the Palace of the Governor and has dolls with more than two meters height as its principal allegory.
The town also houses independent blocks, such as the Bandalheira, which satirizes the days of military dictatorship, linking doctors, masons, workers and students, the Cordão Banjo de Prata (Silver Banjo String), founded in 1934, revives the atmosphere of the 1920’s carnival and Balanço da Cobra, which has a doll of the animal which gave the block its name, satirizes politicians.
As you may recall, originally carnival was about ridiculing political decisions, governors, regents and the clergy. Ouro Preto still breathes the original atmosphere.
Site Ouro Preto: www.ouropreto.mg.gov.br
São Luís do Paraitinga
In São Luís do Paraitinga, at 170 km from São Paulo, the fun is in traditional style, with blocks and marchinhas. The carnival’s march, also known as “marchinha” is a music genre that was popular in Brazilian carnival during the years 1920 to 1960, when it began to be replaced by the samba-enredo. Already for 28 years the residents of the town and nearby villages create the intrigues. In all, São Luis has 35 blocks, 25 professionals and ten amateurs. They pass through the streets of the historic centre and at the end of the presentations, they gather at the Praça Oswaldo Cruz for an enormous party which unites foliões (partygoers) of all ages.
As is custom, the municipality arranges a contest to choose the three best marchinhas. The winners earn cash prizes and a trophy. The foliões don’t need to pay anything to join the carnival in the streets, but creativity is vital: each block requires that participants wear a special costume. The block Maricota, which paraded on Sunday (22), for example, had the clothes made with cans. On Saturday (21) the block Juca Teles paraded, with the mandatory use of a colourful hat, tiara and parasol.
It is indeed a different carnival. São Luis do Paraitinga has one of the most inventive, fun and colourful carnivals of Brazil, with each year a theme chosen to celebrate, in 2009 it was the 100th anniversary of the birth of Elpídio dos Santos, Brazilian conductor and native of the town.
In São Luis do Paraitinga they play with their culture, their revered traditions, their stories and legends, their customs…
Carnival is in the Air!
Site São Luís do Paraitinga: www.saoluizdoparaitinga.sp.gov.br
This post is based on information from: viajeaqui
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