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