Although many countries around the world celebrate Mardi Gras every year, Brazil takes it to another level. Streets are filled with vibrant celebrations and parades as the national Carnival holiday takes over the entire country. It originally began as a Catholic & Christian holiday to have one last party before the Lenten season started leading up to Easter. Since it is common to give up something during Lent to prepare for Easter, Mardi Gras has traditionally been used as the last day to go all out. It has evolved more to celebrate Brazil’s history and bring awareness to environmental and social issues.
The most well-known celebrations occur in Rio de Janeiro, particularly in the Sambadrome. This large avenue stretches out to make for the best space for thousands of people to gather to watch the spectacular performances of samba schools as well as witness the jaw dropping and dazzling Carnival floats. Participants dress in beautifully extravagant costumes to dance down the streets in celebration. The performers come together from their samba schools to play music and dance in intricate costumes. The top schools compete with their own dazzling floats and dance routines to be crowned the winner of the Carnival.
When Brazilians aren’t watching the show at the amazing Sambadrome, they are enjoying the “blocos” or street parties. Each bloco has a different theme and are filled with bands, bright costumes, and parades. Some special street foods enjoyed are feijoada, carurú, moqueca baiana, brigadeiros, and more. The combination of music, dancing, and food all make for the perfect Carnival celebration.
Because we have so many amazing au pairs from Brazil, we wanted to highlight an important holiday in their home country. Reach out to your Brazilian friends to learn about their culture and hear what it is like to experience Carnival. Celebrate together by dancing to samba music and indulging in some brigadeiros!