Brazilians are famous for their party animal spirit and dancing. And it is true. We do love a good time and we love to dance and be merry.
My dad taught me how to dance and my daughter is learning from my brother, my sister and me. Our little family gatherings always end up being informal spontaneous parties turned samba & salsa lessons for my little one. Yes, Brazilians are very family orientated and our children are usually involved in all our parties so when I was little the question was never if I was invited to an event, but rather what I was going to wear for it. Back home we joke that "Brazilians can dance in funerals and laugh at their own disgrace and misery."
There is no better example of the Brazilian easy cheer and party spirit than our Carnival - a week long party bonanza always taking place just before Ash Wednesday. This is when we all, independent of our class, work, finances, background, colour and age take a week off to celebrate being Brazilians either by partying the night away or relaxing with family and friends. For some that is the only relief from a very harsh reality as the difference in between the rich and the poor, although improved over the last few years, it is still pretty much a big contrast.
Carnival is a national celebration, but make no mistake, we take it very seriously. Especially if one is a supporter of a samba school. Such schools will usually plan, rehearse and prepare for the next Carnival pretty much from the moment the last one finishes. It is also very competitive and a school performing on the Sambodramo (the Carnival's catwalk and purpose built venue) is judged on everything from creativity, being on the run on time, their songs lyrics, their fancy dress and allegoric cars to their choreography while performing. It is though heart breaking business and most people do it out of loyalty and passion for the tradition and their school. The winner this year won by a mere 1.4 points!
The colours, vibrancy, feathers, sparkle and energy of it all is mesmerizing and exhilarating! If you have never watched Carnival... here is a taster for you, but before I go I need to say: Well done Beija-Flor for winning this year.