Three Loves

A Novel
Graceann K. Deters

Carnival

It is impossible to fully understand Brazilian Carnival without experiencing it first hand.
Carnival is the same celebration which you may know as ‘Fat Tuesday’ or ‘Mardi Graz” In the U.S. the largest celebration of this day is in New Orleans. In other American cities, the main emphasis is on Ash Wednesday, the day after Carnival ends and 40 days before Easter. On Ash Wednesday, devout Christians may go to church; maybe for communion, go to confession, or to pray for forgiveness. This is the day of attrition for your sins. It marks the beginning of lent.
For a Brazilian, Carnival is the most important Holiday of the year. More important than Christmas, Easter, New Years and even personal birthday celebrations. Brazilian Carnival is called the “Greatest Show on Earth.”
Starting with the origin of the Samba Schools in 1928, with the Carnival parade in 1932 in Rio de Janeiro, the Carnival tradition began. In Sao Paulo the official Carnival parade did not start until 1950. Today every city in Brazil, large and small, has parties, parades, dancing on the streets, costumes contests, and more… The larger cities have built Sambadromes, which are large parade structures, used during the 4 days of Carnival celebration, where the Samba Schools parade with floats, costumes and dances judged by the city fathers.
Each neighborhood starts planning next years’ dances, music costumes as soon as Easter has passed. The larger communities, such as the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, also plan their large elaborate floats to be displayed at the Sambadromes. They rehearse the dances all year long. As a tourist in Rio, be sure to take a tour of a Samba School, where you can join them in rehearsing their latest dances
Bruno and Anthony were right in the middle of the festivities. It surprises non Brazilians to learn that Carnival officially starts with New Year Eve. This is known as the “Grito de Carnaval” translated it mean, “Carnival Yell.” It marks the beginning of the Carnival season. The new songs for Carnival are introduced and it is the beginning of parties, and the excitement of planning for the Carnival events.
Everyone wears a costume. Some can be very plain, others are elegant, some sexually provocative. At Carnival time young girls who are usually very reserved and modest, may show another side, exposing most of their bodies, which they would never think of doing before or after carnival.
It seems like nothing is off limits including drug use, abuse of alcohol, sexual promiscuity, and the use of Lanca Perfume which I explain in chapter sixteen of the book . This can be very shocking to tourist and those who have not grown up in this culture, but somehow the Brazilians are O.K. with anything that happens during Carnival and as soon as it is over start fantasizing for next year’s celebration.