Rio Carnival: 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

February 17, 2023

 

Rio Carnival: 10 Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know

The famous Rio de Janeiro carnival week has now started and runs until the Parade of Champions on Saturday 25th February but how much do you know about this bright and flamboyant event?

Rio de Janeiro is certainly amongst the most colourful and liveliest cities in the world and when it’s carnival week, almost everybody fills the streets to celebrate. The Carnival has dazzling, vibrant costumes, incredible floats, street parties and samba-soaked parades. So, here are 10 things you probably didn’t know.

  1. Its origins date back to the 17th century. Although, it did not actually make its way to the streets until the turn of the 20th century
  2. Rio Carnival is a Catholic event by origin (the pre-Lent use of foods that would go off such as meat, butter etc during the month of abstinence – “carne vale” in Latin – farewell to meat!), although it is also thought to have roots in pagan traditions possibly even dating as far back as festivals in ancient Egypt to celebrate the change from winter to spring.
  3. In 1917, the dancing and music style was officially coined ‘samba’ and has been a part of Brazil’s musical heritage since.
  4. Carnival is celebrated all over Brazil, notably in Salvador, Bahia and Recife but it was in Rio where the carnival we all know today started to take shape. Other major carnival celebrations are observed in Trinidad & Tobago, Barranquilla in Colombia and Oruro in Bolivia.
  5. In Brazil, carnival’s street parties are known as ‘blocos’.
  6. The carnival week attracts over 6 million people, with around 1.5 million of them being tourists.
  7. Almost all the local people are allowed time off work and most join in the party.
  8. It’s believed to bring in between £5m and £10m in tourism revenue.
  9. An estimated 1.8 billion gallons of alcohol are sold throughout carnival week.
  10. Rio Carnival is registered as the biggest in the world according to Guinness World Records.

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