In Brazil - Carnaval is a big deal. It's celebrated all over the country. Rio's Carnaval is famous and very elaborate. Recife and Olinda have wonderful Carnavals - known as the most traditional in Brazil.
Everything stops for Carnaval. The kids were out of school for a week (I know - school had just started the week before!). Stores close, regular business slows down - even the Consulate was closed for the 3 days of Carnaval.
|This chicken was made from beer cans!|
I couldn't wait for Carnaval. I really wanted to figure it out. Everyone talks about what a great celebration it is - but I just didn't get it. I knew there were parades and music and dancing in the streets, but I just couldn't see how it all came together. I've been to parades - usually you're behind a barricade and you watch it all go by. But I'd heard it's more than that.
So - on Sunday, we went to Olinda with some friends.
Carnaval spills through all the streets - it's important to find a place to escape the throngs. Many houses in Olinda are available to rent, and many hotels also sell day / party passes for people to use during Carnaval.
Another thing about Carnaval is that it starts early. We got to Olinda at 10 AM and the streets had lots of people celebrating.
Various groups had organized to create costumes. And there were lots of super heroes.
There were the 20 people or so who formed their own roller coaster and would do pretend rides.
There were a group of Borat wanna-be's.
|These people seemed to be large dust-bunnies being chased by a vacuum.|
When we first arrived, the streets had lots of people, but it wasn't yet super crowded. We found our pousada (hotel) and then walked up to the top of the hill in Olinda to see all the celebrations around the town. By the time we headed back to the pousada, the streets had gotten very packed with people and the bands were marching along playing music.
Inside the pousada there was food and beverages - and a band to play during the times that bands on the street were playing. It was nice to be out of the crowd a bit and to watch it all go by. Of course, at any time, you could jump in and join them for a while.
On Monday evening, we went with the kids to Recife Antigo.
If you get there early (around 5 PM), it's fairly quiet.
Carnaval is amazing!