* Irene's Country Corner * - Brasil - Carnival



© Pascale. Not for download. Please, visit Miss Price's Graphics if you like this graphic.


© Pascale. Not for download. Please, visit Miss Price's Graphics if you like this graphic.


- Origins and Date of Carnival -

Some authors believe that carnival has its origins in Egypt, in the seasonal farming rituals of the ancient peoples. In ancient times, religious festivals were strictly observed by the people. One of these festivals is a period of forty days that precede the Easter, which is called Lent. Lent was observed by the whole population and nobody was allowed to eat meat during these forty days before Easter until the Easter Festival was over.

"Anyone disobeying the Church in this was severely punished. The period of Lent became therefore a rather dull and serious time, where the people made many sacrifices to pay for their sins and had virtually no pleasures. The idea was born to have a large celebration and feast before the start of Lent to somehow compensate for the dull and boring days to follow. This idea took off in a big way and the celebration of Carnival evolved."

In 590 a.C., Pope Gregorio I, set a date for carnival. In 1582, after the reforms in the Julian calendar, Pope Gregorio XIII (1572 - 1585) changed its date. Carnival dates for Christians were fixed according to the Catholic Easter, the festival of Christ's resurrection."To avoid coinciding with the Easter of the Hebrews (Pessat) - which had a fixed date of Nissan 15 (the first month of the Jewish calendar, the start of springtime), the Catholic Easter was set fourteen days after the first new moon after March 21 (start of Spring among the Jews and Romans). So the Catholic Easter Sunday varies between March 22 and April 25."

The carnival Sunday is the 7th Sunday which precedes the Easter Sunday. The Wednesday after the last day of carnival (Tuesday) is called Ash Wednesday. In 2001, carnival began on February, 24, in 2002 on February, 9 and in 2003, on March, 1. The next dates that will mark the beginning of carnival are: 2004 (February, 21), 2005 (February, 5), 2006 (February, 26), 2007 (February, 17), 2008 (February, 2), 2009 (February, 21), 2010 (February, 13).

- Carnival in Brazil -

Carnival was introduced in Brazil in 1723, with the immigration from the islands of Madeira, Açores and Cabo Verde, and gradually changed along the years, assimilating local elements, especially from African culture.

Brazilian carnival has its origin in the old Portuguese pre-Lent celebration known as "entrudo" (from the Latin word introito, which means beginning).

"Happiness, casualness and creativity, the trademark characteristics of the Brazilian people, achieve their maximum expression at the Carnival. During four days the country lives its most democratic moment, taking to the same catwalk and to the streets people of very different socio-economic and cultural levels. It is the moment when rich and poor share the same space and enjoy themselves at a festivity where social inequalities become diluted in Carnival euphoria. Brazilian people and tourists from all over the world transform themselves into "foliões" (Carnival revelers), following the rhythms of each region."

While in Rio and São Paulo the rhythm of carnival is the samba, in Bahia the rhythm is the "axé" music and in Pernambuco the joyful "frevo".

In Rio, the samba schools are the main attraction. In São Paulo, the parade is done in the molds of the samba schools that parade in Rio. "Only the states of Pernambuco and Bahia make a Carnival with completely unique characteristics, different from the tradition/invention of Rio's samba schools. They characterize themselves by the mass presence of the people dancing and singing in the streets." In Pernambuco, a single group gathers 1,5 million people in the streets. In Bahia, religious ceremonies give the party a special flavor and the "trios elétricos" (music floats) gather lots of people in the streets and the feast lasts for a whole week.


Carnival in Rio


Carnival in Pernambuco

 Carnival in São Paulo


Carnival in Bahia

 Carnival in
Rio de Janeiro

 Carnival in

 Carnival in
São Paulo

 Carnival in



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This page was created on: January 20th 2002.
Last updated on: February 10th 2005.

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