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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars


Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 8-12 February, 2002


Carnaval (or Carnival) is a holiday that originated from various pagan spring festivals.  During the Middle Ages these tended to be wild parties, bit they were tamed in Europe by the Reformation.  But not even the Inquisition could put an end to Carnival in the Portuguese colony, where it acquired Indian costumes and African rhythms.  People speculate that the word "Carnaval" comes from the Latin carne vale, meaning "goodbye meat", as the Brazilians give up liver and steak filets, and other luxuries, for the 40 days of Lent.  To compensate for this deprivation during Lent, they have a big blow-out carnal party in honor of King Momo, the King of Carnival.


The Carnival in Rio lasts for five days, but the build-up to Carnival lasts all year.  The preparations are like preparing for a major military campaign, in particular for the Samba schools that compete in the competitions at the Sambodromo.  There are also bandas, marching bands, that pre-date the Samba schools and which are making a bit of a comeback, bringing Carnival back to the streets of Rio.


Here is how we celebrated Carnival in Rio:


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8 February, 2002

   - Red and Black Ball at Scala in Ipanema


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9 February, 2002

   -  Banda de Ipanema gay Bandas e Blocos party in Ipanema

   -  Checking out the Copacabana ocean front at night


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10 February, 2002

   -  Touring Rio by foot, taxi, tram and bus

   -  The spectacle of the Samba Parades in the Sambadromo


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11 February, 2002

   -  Corcovado Mountain and the Christ the Redeemer Statue

   -  Copacabana Beach


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12 February, 2002

   -  Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches

   -  The famous Gay Ball at the Scala Club in Ipanema


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