South America is a particularly popular destination for our many Facebook Competition entrants, and this video explains why. (PS You should really enter if you haven’t done so yet!) How could you resist when there are parties like the Rio Carnival to attend?
This is a fairly long one but it’s certainly worth it. In the first part of the film you’ll see some incredible footage taken from various vantage points throughout the city, followed by visually arresting scenes from the world-famous Rio Carnival. Just what it must have taken to film this piece boggles the mind. And think of the number of performers!
Rio Carnival has its roots in classical times, when ancient Greeks celebrated the coming of spring in honour of the god of wine, Dionysus. Adopted by the Romans and held for Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, the Roman Catholic Church later modified the celebration into a festival preceding the beginning of Lent. But what evolved was something a little more vibrant and indulgent than the church had in mind!
Carnival festivities in Brazil began in 1723, when Portuguese immigrants introduced informal parties, largely involving the throwing of water and mud, which often ended up in street brawls. As time went on things became significantly more civil, and by the early 20th century samba had emerged as a unifying cultural force. The parade these days is made up of many samba schools, each one dressed according to a theme, with accompanying music, floats and elaborate costumes.
Along with the locals who attend the event, organisers estimate that the carnival attracts some half a million spectators from across the world every year, bringing the total number of people in the streets each day up to around two million. That’s some party!