Do you celebrate Carnival in your country? Have you ever participated in a Carnival parade? Do you know what Mardi Gras/Shrove (Fat) Tuesday means? What are the customs and traditions where you live?
In Brazil although not all people parade, it is a feast that starts getting prepared one year ahead and each region offers a different kind of attraction.
In Rio de Janeiro the samba schools league prepare a spectacle not to be missed as they go out and parade in the avenue, sporting thousands of participants who dance, sing and exhibit their costumes and floats according to pre-chosen themes.
In Salvador, the trio elétrico, a truck equipped with a high power sound system, advances on the avenue, blasting the music sung by popular Brazilian singers, while the crowd follows dancing and singing.
In Olinda, the main attraction is the Frevo blocks featuring giant dolls (some are more than 3mts tall).
When I was a kid, I used to wear masks and costumes and my parents would take me to the club, where I danced and sang with the other children. We would also spray people with water, to which we added some red dye called Devil’s Blood. We threw serpentines and confetti on the cars that passed by. Later, as a teen, I went to the night balls at the club wearing different disguises, sang and danced the whole night with whoever came my way.
Today I do not participate in Carnival anymore. I escape to the peace and quiet in the countryside and watch the samba schools contest on television. I’d like to parade for one of the samba schools in Rio though. Maybe next year.