The Carnival of Brazil (Portuguese: Carnaval do Brasil, IPA: [kaʁnaˈvaw]) is an annual festival held between the Friday afternoon (51 days before Easter) and Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term “carnival,” from carnelevare, “to remove (literally, “raise”) meat.”
Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades (“blocos”) allowing public participation can be found in other cities. The northeastern cities of Recife, Olinda,Salvador and Porto Seguro have organized groups parading through streets, and public interacts directly with them. This carnival is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture. It is a six-day party where crowds follow the trios elétricos through the city streets, dancing and singing. Also in northeast, Olinda carnival features unique characteristics, heavily influenced by local folklore and cultural manifestations, such as Frevo and Maracatu.
The typical genres of music of Brazilian carnival are, in Rio de Janeiro (and Southeast Region in general): the samba-enredo, the samba de bloco, the samba de embalo and the marchinha; in Pernambuco and Bahia (and Northeast Region in general) the main genres are: the frevo, the maracatu, the samba-reggae and Axé music.
Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions.[neutrality is disputed] Except for industrial production, retail establishments such as malls, and carnival-related businesses, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. Rio de Janeiro’s carnival alone drew 4.9 million people in 2011, with 400,000 being foreigners.
Arguably, this cultural manifestation could be historically traced to the Portuguese Age of Discoveries when their caravels passed regularly through Madeira, a territory which already celebrated emphatically its carnival season, and where they were loaded with goods but also people and their ludic and cultural expressions
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