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The new year begins!

Hi everyone! It’s March 12th. In the US, clocks and cell phones sprang forward to Daylight Saving Time last weekend. Spring is just around the corner. And in Brazil, the new year is just beginning! It’s a joke here in Brazil that the new year begins in March. It’s a joke – but also pretty […]

Crime in Rio

Hi all, Carnival has just wrapped up for another year. They were even more tourists in Rio than usual. As tourists anywhere can become targets of crime, this seems a good time to write about crime in Rio. Would-be visitors to The Marvelous City often worry about safety here. There was, after all, the rape […]

Bloco das Carmelitas in Santa Teresa

Hi all, This Friday afternoon I’ll be meeting several friends and friend of friends to watch one of Rio’s most popular blocos (Carnival street parades), As Carmelitas. Although somewhere around 400 blocos now perform during Rio’s Carnaval, As Carmelitas has been a favorite since its inception back in 1990. I think there are several reasons […]

Carnivals around Brazil

Hi all, Is there a person alive who hasn’t seen photos and video of Rio’s Carnival? Honestly, sometimes I think that Carnival is the only thing foreigners know about Brazil at all. But Rio is not the only city in Brazil which celebrates Carnival. Indeed, there are Carnivals around the world. Mardi Gras, Quebec’s Winter Festival, […]

Carnaval blocos are underway!

Hi everyone! Yes, I’m back after a hiatus. Really, I had to return, since Carnaval 2014 is almost here! Officially, Carnaval (I will stick with the Portuguese spelling) this year will be March 1-4, in the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. But Carnaval really begins long before. [For those of you into the arcane: […]

Bloco de Lama (Parade of Mud*)

Hi all, While Paraty’s Carnival can’t compare to Rio’s, it’s not without its own charms. Notably, Paraty has the Bloco de Lama, which I will translate here loosely as the “Parade of Mud.” [*Editor’s note for you purists: Bloco would translate literally as “block,” or perhaps more precisely as “bloc,” but the idea is very […]

Carnival 2013 in Paraty

Hi all, Well, Carnival is in full swing right now. This year I’m enjoying the festivities here in my little town of Paraty, forgoing the mega-parades of Rio. Been there, done that. Three times. That’s enough. While Carnival here in Paraty is undoubtedly tame compared to Carnival in Rio or Salvador, the other big destination […]

Origins of Carnival

Hi all, It is now the weekend leading up to Tuesday, the final day of Carnival. So things are liable to get a little crazy these next few days. The biggest celebrations of Carnival in Brazil are in Rio and Salvador. Olinda, a smaller historic town adjacent to the city of Recife, also has a […]

A Quick History of Carnival

Hi all, Here in Rio, today is the final official day of Carnaval (rendered as “Carnival” in English). However, festivities will continue through Saturday, when the top 5 samba “schools” (clubs) will parade again through the Sambodromo (which is a word I still cannot wrap my tongue around – it’s “samba” + “drome”, but good […]

A Brief History of Carnaval

Hi All, Carnaval rolls around soon. It comes a bit late this year, on March 8th. Well, actually that’s the last day (technically) of the festivities. The party actually runs for 5 days before. Then there are the pre-parties, and after the official end of Carnaval, the top “schools” will have another parade. You get […]