Carnival in Brazil and its History
The history of the Brazilian Carnival
Brazil is a complex country, culturally and socially. One of its most recognizable events,
Carnival seems to be equally full of paradoxes.
The samba traditions in Brazil seem to have come from the Africans brought to the country
as slaves. African traditions of wearing costumes and parading through villages dancing
and singing, while wearing fancy fabrics, shells bones and masks as representations of
spiritual beliefs seems to have merged with European traditions, particularly Italian Christian
traditions to form this very Brazilian festival.
In Africa, feathers were used on masks and headdresses as symbol of regrowth and masks
were used to conceal and create a magical personality to those wearing them.
The name Carnival seems to originate from the Italian "Carnivale" (or carne levare) festival,
which means "to remove meat" which was a tradition of dressing up in costumes and
celebrate before the first day of Lent. Since Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during
Lent the festival adopted that appropriate name. The carnival in Italy became quite famous
and spread to France, Spain and Catholic countries in Europe and part of that seems to
have been brought back to Brazil during the Portuguese colonization of the country.
It was the merge between the history of those mostly Catholic European and African slave
traditions that made Brazilian Carnival such an exciting festival.
Brazil's most known representation of carnival is called a "School of Samba", which isn't
really a school, but a large gathering of dancers and musicians who become the teams that
parade in the "Schools of Samba Competition". The first school of samba in Brazil was
called Deixa Falar and was created by a "carioca" (Rio de Janeiro resident) named Ismael
Silva in 1928. That school of samba eventually changed its name to Estacio de Sa.
Rio de Janeiro is particularly famous for the highly orchestrated and fantastic display of its
schools of samba which is watched by people around the world.
Sabrina Sato Carnival Career
Who said Sabrinas can´t dance? Model, show host, and comedian,Sabrina Sato from São
Paulo is another constant presence at the Brazilian Carnival. Since she was a kid,
Sabrina would love to watch samba parades and would join carnival balls with her parents.
Later, Sabrina would be a professional dancer and her transition to Samba was a question
of time. Sabrina Sato, known in Brazil for her multi-cultural background, has always
been a supporter of the “Gavioes da Fiel Samba School” in São Paulo, where she paraded
as Carnival Muse in 2008 and 2009. Let´s learn a little bit more about the Carnaval profile of
this true artist.
Carnival Queen Sabrina Sato gained the confidence and trust of Gavioes da Fiel Samba
School since the days she started to attend their samba rehearsals. Then, the sensual
Brazilian model participated in in numerous rehearsals and samba-school activities to help
promote the loved school. Sabrina parades for Gavioes da Fiel since 2005 and for the 2010
carnival, reveled in São Paulo asDrums Section Godmother, a true honor.
In one of her first parades, Sabrina showed why she was destined for success. On the
middle of her 2008 parade, the top portion of her golden bikini costume ripped off. The
Carnival Queen had to dance all the way holding her bra or it would fall. Many would
imagine she would lose her grace or majesty right there…By the contrary, she gained even
more fame and attention for being able to shine, smile and dance .
Sabrina Sato also has a special passion for Rio de Janeiro´s Carnival too, where she ´s
always seen. The half Japanese, half Brazilian beauty says she loves the wonder city, its
beaches and has paraded in 2008, 2009 and 2010 as a muse for the traditional Salgueiro
This is indeed a great distinction for the dancer since Salgueiro Samba Schoolis known for
its high-flying goddesses like Viviane Araujo. In 2010, Sabrina was invited to join a third
samba-school: Academicos do Rocinha from Rio de Janeiro, by its President. Many say
she will be the 2011 Carnaval Drum Queens for Rocinha...Let´s wait and see!
Adriane Galieteu Queen of Carnival
Brazilian Carnival has many queens, but few with the charm and beauty of Adriane
Galisteu.. Adriane Queen in 2010 has celebrated its 15th Anniversary at the Rio de Janeiro
Carnival. She has supported several of the top samba-school in Brazil, like Portela,
Rocinha, and Unidos da Tijuca. The last 5 years, Adriane has joined Unidos da Tijuca
samba-school from Rio de Janeiro, where she conquered a legion of fans.
Originally from Sao Paulo, the carnival Diva has stated she has a true passion for
the Brazilian Carnival, and that she could not live without it or its vibrations.
Some of the other Carnival Queen in Brazil include Sabrina Sato, Fabia Borges, Viviane
Araujo and Tatiana Pagung.
These photos above were all taken by Alexandre Vidal, from Agencia FOTO BR team and
are from the 2010 Carnival celebration in Rio Brazil. Good luck Adriane in your
Fabia Borges Carnival Background
Fabia Borges is one of the most famous Carnival Queens in the Brazilian Carnival. She
comes from a family of carnival and samba representatives. Her parents have been
"sambistas" for over two generations, and her mother was a respected Flag-Bearer
from Unidos da Tijuca Samba School from Rio de Janeiro.
Fabia has supported Unidos da Tijuca in the beginning of her career. She started to hang
on the samba school practices since she was still a kid. Later, as she grew up, she started
to parade at the legendary Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro.
When she was only 14 she had a full grown body and men and women of all ages would be
impressed with her samba dancing skills. The beautiful Brazilian brunette would become
soon "Rainha de Bateria" or in English ;. "Queen of Drums", a position similar to Carnival
Queen in Brazilian Carnival. Fabia Borges would parade then for a new Samba school
called Academicos da Rocinha from Rio de Janeiro, where she received very positive
ratings for her samba performances.
Today, more than a Carnival Queen and Muse, Fabia Borges is beauty icon in Brazil,
representing the brunettes or morenas...,With 30 years of elegance and sensuality, Fabia
proves that samba has a perfect recipe for the happiness formula.
ps. some of the Pictures seen above at this Hub have never been released before and
where taken by FOTO BR Agency.
By coincidence, Another famous and astonishing carnival queen posted at Hub Pages, has
supported the samba-school Fabia supports today: Adriane Galisteu.
Rio Carnival 2010 – Our Experience in the
Streets of Rio de Janeiro
Before I get started let me just note that there are two ways Brazil is spelt – with the “Z” for
English and with the “S” in Portuguese (Brasil). In addition, Carnival is spelt – CARNAVAL
in Brasil. I will stick to the English spelling since hubpages uses English only. And the story
Getting to Rio
We (that is my husband and I) set off at 4:30am on Saturday morning, 13 thFebruary, with a
two and a half hour journey ahead of us. We opted to leave early with a friend who was on
his way to a town further south from the city centre of Rio de Janeiro. Mind you we live in
the State of Rio de Janeiro but Brazil is such a huge country that a trip like this is no simple
drive. Okay so skipping ahead we arrived at our hotel around 8am and were able to check
in immediately. That was great! Furthermore, to our delight, we realized that our hotel
Windsor Guanabara was located on the corner of Av. Presidente Vargas and Rio Branco
which was the main Carnival Street (Rua da Carnaval). Yippie! What luck!
Okay so moving on. We got settled in and unpacked and then went exploring in the area.
We got to see the big floats that are customary of Rio Carnival, whilst they were parked on
the streets being worked on. I took the opportunity to takes some pictures. We then walked
around, bought cheap sunglasses and a carnival T-shirt.
So let me skip the boring parts and get to the meat of my story. Our Brazilian friends
recommended we attend the “Blocos” parties and not go to the Sambadrome (Sambódromo
in Portuguese) which is where the Carnival parade takes place.I am sure you‟ve seen
photos of hot women, beautiful costumes and thousands of masqueraders. Well let me tell
you – that is only seen at the Sambadrome. Not on the streets of Rio. Unfortunately, we did
not make it to the Sambadrome and stuck to the “blocos”. Here are some photos of the
crowds on the streets for Rio Carnival. We almost got squashed in the crowd on the first
As previously mentioned, the masqueraders on the streets aren‟t like the ones you see
published online on Brazil‟s tourist websites and magazines. But I did manage to get a few
cool photos. You will notice that these masqueraders are not skimpily clothed. We were
expecting to see plenty of that but based on what I noticed and saw on television, it is
usually just the queen of the band that has on a sexy costume and the rest of the band has
costumes made up of plenty cloth!
Samba drummers – the most exciting part
I took many photos of the samba drummers. Most of the music played during Rio Carnival is
samba. This is Brazilian music originating from Rio with a dance form „samba‟ invented by
the poor Afro-Brazilians. There are lots of samba schools in Brazil and these samba schools
entertain the community through samba nights. The Samba parade is made up of these
many schools. A theme is chosen and costumes and matching floats are made and music
and lyrics are written to accompany their parade. I did a video with different samba
drummers we saw on the streets of Rio. You will also get to see what happened in
Copacabana - great music!
On Sunday we decided to go to a Blocos party at Ipanema. Even though there was a big
crowd here and this bloco was supposed to be a really good one we did not enjoy it as
much as everyone else. The problem is that there are so many people and the music „truck‟
is not big enough to accommodate everyone hearing. Also it seems like there are just a lot
of people walking around. I am used to Trinidad and Tobago carnival where there are lots of
music trucks and songs from different artists and masqueraders all over the place, not
online in one location. So you can walk around the main town and see lots of different
bands. But it was nice visiting Ipanema. I got great shots of the beach and stuff which I will
post in another hub. Sunday night we went back on the main Carnival Street outside our
hotel and were delighted with the samba drummers. This was my favourite.
On Monday we took a taxi and made our way to Copacabana. This was by far the best. We
had lunch in a restaurant with seating on the outside, facing the beach. There were
thousands of people on the beach. You could not see a clear path to the seawater. Along
the entire stretch of the beach area/boardwalk there were many activities taking place. We
walked and walked and we stopped to listen to the guys playing their instruments along the
way and to look at people dancing. It was great! We even did the „tourist‟ thing and bought a
lovely glass bowl looking thing in the street market. It was blown colourful glass that is really
very pretty. That night once more we hit the streets for a last look at the samba drummers
and masqueraders that were there. Next morning we checked out and left carnival behind.
Okay so there you go - that's what our Carnival experience was like. I tried not to do too
much writing and put photos and the Rio Carnival 2010 video below. Hope you enjoyed it. I
know the pictures are not very exciting. If we had gone to the Sambadrome it would
definitely have been different but I am happy to share with you another side of Rio Carnival.
You can read about one of the most popular beaches in Brazil - Copacabana!
Round The World Travel Guide: Rio Carnival
Exploding with noise and colour, swaying and shaking to the sound of the samba beat, the
Rio Carnival is the biggest street party in the world. The biggest we've seen in our round the
world travels. Around 500,000 overseas tourists descend on Rio de Janeiro for the
celebrations every year, and more than two million people take to the streets each day of
the Carnival. It‟s therefore a good idea to book your accommodation well in advance!
The Rio Carnival is s a wild 4 day celebration held every year just before the deprivations of
Lent, so in 2012 it will run from Friday 17 February until „shrove‟ or „fat‟ Tuesday,21
February. Carnivals and street parties are held all over Brazil at this time but the biggest
and the best is undoubtedly in Rio. The Carnival, held in the height of the sweltering
Brazilian summer, is all about hedonism and excess. Fortunately there‟s no shortage of
great beaches to cool off at!
Rio‟s first carnival and street parades date back to around 1850, introduced by the
Portuguese settlers. Groups of people would parade through Rio‟s streets dancing and
playing music. Initially the carnival had a very European theme, with the dances being more
Polkas & Waltzes than Samba. From the beginning of the 20thCentury, the emerging
working classes, mostly Afro Brazilians, developed their own unique rhythm and music,
known as Samba. Since then, the Carnival has evolved and grown to become the incredible
spectacle it is today.
Samba & the Sambadromo
Almost all the music you‟ll hear at the Rio Carnival is Samba. Samba music and dance is
full of passion and is an expression of happiness and vitality. The main Samba Parade is
held in the Sambadromo, known as the „stadium of samba‟. It consists of the Parading
Avenue, lined with seating stands where up to 90,000 cheering spectators watch the
The carnival parade is full of floats from different samba schools, which might be actual
schools or just a group of friends or neighbours. In either case, the competition between the
rival schools is fierce! Each float has its own theme and the schools compete to build the
most striking floats and make the most dazzling costumes.
Away from the main Samba Parade at the Sambadromo, street festivals are being held all
over the city. They are open to everyone and are a great place to mix with the locals and
get a true flavour of the Carnival. These street carnivals are alive with music, dancing and
everyone having the party of their lives!