What About the Brazilian Carnaval?

“To get what you want, stop doing what isn’t working.” Anon

This is not the first posting on my blog about the Brazilian Carnaval, but this might be a little different take on it. I’m throwing this one into the pot as an extra bit of reading.

So when do Brazilians or anyone else celebrate Carnaval? It is during the four days previous to Ash Wednesday though there is a playful saying that it begins the week after the celebration of the New Year. On this year 2016 it officially begins on February 6th but in practical terms it began a few weeks earlier. I suppose a majority of Brazilians love to party and this is the big one. You see, the forty days of Lent is supposed to bring the lasciviousness of Carnaval to a halt.

When you think of Carnaval, what place comes to mind? It is Rio de Janeiro, right? But Carnaval happens in most Brazilian cities and we got to experience a bit of the scene when we lived in Campinas. You see our maid was involved in one of the blocos, that is one of the party groups putting on a show through the streets. Other cities famous for Carnaval are Salvador in Bahia and Olinda and Recife in Pernambuco.

In Salvador the Musica Baiana fills the streets with people dancing to the music provided by the trios electicos. What I see in my mind is the big truck floats with huge P.A. systems and a music group playing from their roofs.

The Carnaval is a combination of Afro-American culture tied in with present day Brazilian music. The Olinda/Recife parties with their frevo and maracatu beat are typical of the Northeastern Carnaval styles—in fact typical of much of their music.

Most of the readers of this blog will not be interested in the parties but this is still a good time of the year to visit Brazil and their beaches. Now is their summer. And air prices are now low, especially if you check them out on the internet—not much more than half price depending on the company and the time of travel. I’ve also read that hotel prices are reasonable for there are extra rooms on the market for they are getting ready for the Olympics. And are good exchange rates too–even though our Canadian dollar is low.

The whole idea of Carnaval is that it is a time of fun and sin, for Lent looms up right away and a person had better take advantage of the days before they all have to behave more Christian-like. So our churches organize religious retreats to get their followers out of the cities and concentrating on spiritual concerns.

I think of Carnaval and recall the fortunes spent on extravagant costumes and blocos; I think of the acts committed and the decisions made that cast dark clouds over the rest of life. And I remember the poor in the shanty towns. Those are some of the very places that our churches are attempting to minister and provide a message of hope. That story is so different than the Carnaval that passes so quickly.

This Carnaval time would be the right time for you to reach out to the needy in Brazil. You can do it through your local church. What about helping a child stay in school through the International Child Care program?


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