Prelude to Carnival

Everyone comes here for Carnival. We get asked why we aren’t staying for it practically everyday. The one week street party and festival seems to occupy the minds of the community for months prior, and as we’ve been told, will put all other business on hold for a ten day period. Our hostel dorm will more than quadruple in price and require a seven day booking. During this week each year, many small business owners will cover the majority of their costs for the whole year.

Our choice to skip Carnival was a financial one, and we both harbored some disappointment for making this choice. However, we were entirely unaware that being here so close to the event would be it’s own unique Carnival experience. We’ve lucked out with Samba practices, costume tests, and street rehearsals both outside our hostel and while on the beach.

If that wasn’t enough, on Saturday we had the chance to attend the rehearsal of all rehearsals- a full procession of dancers practicing at the actual grandstands. A show in itself. While most participants wore the official rehearsal t-shirts, we did get the occasional glimpse of a formal carnival costume here and there, and we saw the dancing and heard the music. To see just a rehearsal is breathtaking, and we can only imagine what the actual show must be like. The pride and dedication is truly extraordinary and impossible to put into words. Brazil is alive with colors, energy, and celebrations, and Carnival seems the center of this.

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