Rua Marquês de Sapucaí - Santo Cristo, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20220-007, Brazil
GPS: -22.911451141769, -43.196803380456
World capital of the carnival, the city of Rio de Janeiro is the artistic reference for parades, balls, festivals, parties and street parades. Rio Carnival has not only African origins (dances and percussion such as the samba) but also European ones. Initially, this event is a Portuguese festival called the entrudo. It has its roots in the imperial festivals of antiquity (such as the Saturnalia, Lupercalia and Bacchanalia in the Roman Empire or the Kronia and Dionysia in ancient Greece). Carnival games (considered by many at the time to be crude) and large puppets enliven this popular festival in the main Brazilian urban centres. In the Christian calendar, these festivities precede the period of Lent (a 40-day fasting) with abundance. Its participants take advantage of this to eat and drink profusely until Ash Wednesday (corresponding to the first day of Lent for the faithful).
In the 19th century, it was at the Paris Carnival that the concepts of moving parades, costumes, masquerades and masked balls were imported from France by the Carioca bourgeoisie and then gradually adapted to the Rio carnival.
Carnival celebrations do not only take place in Rio de Janeiro but also in the vast majority of Brazilian cities. However Rio remains the epicentre of the country’s festivities because of the numerous samba schools that compete in a great carnival show.
More than 300 neighbourhood groups, clubs or schools parade through the streets of Rio de Janeiro (each group organizes its own carnival with balls and concerts). Numerous events (blocos and batucadas parades) precede the Rio carnival up to three weeks before the official date. The event itself is held during the five days preceding Ash Wednesday.
Every year, after months of preparation, the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro challenge each other for the title of Rio Carnival champion. Each of them chooses a particular theme to stand out from the others in the hope of winning the competition. They have to be imaginative, talented and creative (in the choice of music, dances, costumes, props, floats, fireworks, special effects…) to offer the most beautiful of shows. The best schools have the privilege of performing in the Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí (an open-air avenue lined with bleachers) while the others take to the streets of the city in a fiery atmosphere.