While Carnaval (aka Carnival in English) is celebrated globally, arguably no-one does it better than the city of Rio de Janeiro. The four-day celebration is considered an official holiday — and according to CNN more than seven million revelers would gather in the city streets pre-pandemic to enjoy music, dancing, show-stopping costumes and elaborate parade floats. Some Brazilians even tease that the year doesn’t officially start until Carnaval does.
Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, the world-famous celebration and legendary blocos (street parties) will be postponed likely until spring 2022 in an effort to keep festival goers safe. Despite the delay, February will always embody the festive spirit and rhythm of Rio. We can’t wait for all the brilliant colors and festivities to return.
Most of us know the legend behind the biggest party of the year, but not the actual history. Keep scrolling for a mini lesson on all things Rio Carnaval.
Beyond the brilliant visuals (and vibe), there’s a deeper meaning behind the global celebration. Traditionally, Carnaval is held annually the week leading up to lent — a period of abstinence from life’s indulgences, for example, meat or alcohol. Think of it, as the last “hurrah” before the quiet, religious season that spans 40 days until Easter Sunday.
Over time, the meaning of Carnaval has transitioned from a Catholic-centric holiday to a highly anticipated global event that brings awareness to both historical and environmental issues via creative costumes, music, food, and more.
Samba, better known as the soundtrack of Brazil, is a popular musical style with deep African roots favored year-round, but particularly during Carnaval season. Each year, the best samba schools across the country face off for the title of Rio Carnaval Champion — typically musicians rehearse all year long to showcase their perfectly synchronized sound at the Sambadrome (a special stadium built to host Carnaval), which can seat 80,000 visitors. Other popular music genres include bossa nova, folkloric maracatu – and even country music!
You can’t talk about Carnaval without touching on the exotic, mesmerizing costumes that complement the sounds of Samba. Here, women take center stage as Carnaval Queens, a coveted position as the most talented and beautiful samba dancer leading each individual band. Other important roles? The Porta Bandeira (a.k.a. the flag bearer of the samba school) and her companion called the Mestre Sala, another master of ceremonies who helps facilitate public dances (or balls) and showcases their moves as well.
Whether you choose to make a traditional dish or turn up the tunes, there’s no shortage of ways to recognize the rich history of Carnaval. At Sol de Janeiro, to us Carnaval is all about joy and self-celebration. If you don’t love yourself first, who will? We strive to create effective, sumptuous products that help you exude Body Joy all year round. You can celebrate Brazil, even from afar - or even in your bathroom! From our cult classic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream to newer launches like Brazilian Glossy™ Nourishing Hair Oil, the spirit of Brazil lives on.
We may not be together this festival season, but the pillars of the celebration remain intact: optimism, joy, delight and culture. We can’t wait for Rio Carnaval to return, even bigger and better than ever!
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