Rio de Janeiro's most famous street party opens today and a sea of Brazilian babes adorned with sequins, feathers and glitter, are set to samba down the streets of the famous city. The vibrant event draws crowds from around the world and is a huge bucket-list must-do for travel enthusiasts. But what really goes on inside the week-long party?
Carnival has pagan origins predating Christianity, with a subversive character that turned the status quo upside down. Carnival, in this South American country of over million people, is regarded as the most important of all those celebrated worldwide before the Christian season of Lent, and lasts more than a week. But there are contradictions.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein episode that triggered the MeToo campaign against harassment in the United States, Brazilian women are out in full force -- with some even sporting temporary tattoos with the message emblazoned across their shoulders, arms and chests. The feast of excess is also often the backdrop for a slew of sexual assaults, particularly against women. Thanks to social media and a crowdfunding campaign, some 27, tattoos have been produced for the carnival, in Rio as well as cities including Salvador, Sao Paulo and Olinda.
Ana Lobo, who is six months pregnant, was at a pre-Carnival street party last weekend when a man started yelling and calling her names. Many women in Latin America's largest nation are doing exactly that during this year's Carnival celebrations, with block parties of all-female musicians, shirts, necklaces and crowns with messages like "my breasts, my rules" and several campaigns to report and crack down on harassment. The metoo movement against harassment that is roiling the U.
Rio's Samba Parade was a celebration of Brazil's th anniversary. All Samba Schools had themes based on different period of the country's history. The winner was Imperatriz Leopoldinense, for the second time in a row.
The beat of the drums resonates down the streets of Rio every year for three weeks. Known as one of the greatest parties on the planet, millions of people dance and celebrate to Brazilian music. By definition, it is a carnal holiday with a lack of real authority.
This year, members composed a theme song about LGBT rights to protest abuses while celebrating "camaraderie, love and freedom" during Carnival week. Casa Nem, the only all-LGBT shelter in the state of Rio, last month set aside its usual mission — preparing gay and trans teens and young adults for college entrance exams — to prep a sound system and deck the halls of its downtown Rio de Janeiro offices with glitter. Despite its reputation for tolerance and alegriaBrazil has a growing problem with hate crimes directed at its LGBT communities.
Philip Reeves. Revelers celebrate during the Carnival street parade of the Bloco das Carmelitas in the Santa Teresa neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last week. You can buy a remarkable number of items on Copacabana Beach just by sitting on the sand a few yards from the Atlantic waves, and waiting. Without leaving your beach chair, you can purchase a piece of cheese, a kiddie pool, a blanket, a skewer of shrimp, a string bikini, a selfie-stick, a tropical shirt, a pineapple or a coconut.
The main carnival parade is made up of several samba schools competing for the title of the best samba school of the year. Each school centers their performance around a chosen theme that is acted out through a team of musicians, samba dancers and elaborately decorated floats after months of preparation. The most important dancer of each school is the Queen of the Drummers, who leads the musicians setting the tone and pace of the school with the beats of their huge steel drums.