the Mother of All Parties — Carnaval! No other event on
earth is as closely tied to a specific country as Carnaval is to Brazil.
This is the party to end all parties -- it's a marathon of enjoyment for
days of nonstop singing, dancing, drinking, and general over-the-top merrymaking.
The most famous celebrations are those in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and
the best known of the three, is visually spectacular.
The parade that culminates the 4-day festival
includes 14 samba teams, each of which puts on a 90-minute show with 3,500
to 5,000 people singing and dancing in elaborate costumes, accompanied
by huge colorful floats. In the days preceding the parade, visitors and
residents of Rio head out to extravagant balls where celebrities and common
folk dance the night away wearing skimpy and outlandish costumes.
Recent years have also seen a revival of
the street festivals popular in days of yore. Neighborhood musical groups
known as blocos parade down the streets, Pied Piper-like, while spectators
follow, singing and dancing through the city.
Carnaval is the second most famous in Brazil, popular with Brazilian tourists
who love its unique atmosphere and music. You won't hear samba in Salvador;
Afro axé ; is the beat of choice.
event is almost exclusively a street party with huge crowds dancing in
Pelourinho, the historic city core.
very popular with Brazilians (and increasingly so with visitors)
is the colorful celebration in Olinda. The Mamulengo puppets play an important
role, as the parades and music follow them through the hilly cobblestone
streets dancing to the fast frevo rhythms that are uniquely