University of Wisconsin–Madison

Carnaval, a Festa You Can’t Miss

Heyyyyyyyyyy sooooo i finally got to experience what most of you non-brasileiros know about Brasil: Carnaval. But for those of you who don’t know, Carnaval is almost a week long party celebrating Mardi Gras (you know before those forty days of Quaresma). Now let me take a moment to clarify something for any of you only know Brasil for its Carnaval: Brasil IS NOT Carnaval, tá? Not every brasileiro aspires to celebrate Carnaval and Carnaval is not the only highlight of the year. It’s a great party, but it is not what defines Brasil.

Now that that’s covered, i feel ok to talk about my experience. You might say i didn’t actually experience a Carnaval verdadeiro because i didn’t go to any of the big cities: Salvador, Orlinda, Rio, or São Paulo, Ouro Preto, or Diamantina. However, I beg to differ because the Carnaval in BH was plenty for me. First of all, it wasn’t terribly crowded, i didn’t have to spend too much money (usually Carnaval is cha-ching-cha-ching), got plenty o’ sleep, and i went to Carnaval with my roomies, so we got to have some roomie bonding time.

Anywho, here in BH there were blocos of festas, meaning a lot of people fantasiados (in costume) dancing, chatting, and drinking around one group (or several) of people playin’ drums. It’s like all of us Badgers tailgating before football games in people’s yards, but instead of blasting music from a boombox, people are playing sick rhythms. These groups would play classic and more recent Carnaval anthems (there are new ones every year). Here’s one example:

Você pensa que cachaça é água,

cachaça não é água, não,

Cachaça vem do Alambique,

e água vem do Ribeirão (bis)

 

You think cachaça is water,

Well cachaça isn’t water, no

Cachaça comes from Alambique

and water comes from Riberão (repeat)

Cachaça is tequila brasileiro. Many songs like this are filled with bobagens, and they just repeat and repeat. In general, think of Carnaval either as Mifflin except in various places at the same time, a five day long tailgate for a Badger football game (especially because everybody dresses up for Bucky), or a five day long Freakfest. And yes, it is five days long, or at least, rather.

Me and fellow Letras peeps takin’ a selfie Ellen DeGeneres style
Me and fellow Letras peeps takin’ a selfie Ellen DeGeneres style

Apart from the blocos, there were also various stages that had bands and artists. Unfortunately, BH wasn’t with it in selecting several good bands. In fact, BH has recently started doing Carnaval for the past few years, because before then, BH didn’t have Carnaval anymore. So instead, people would leave BH and go to either Rio, Salvador, Orlinda, Diamantina, Ouro Preto, or São Paulo. So, BH was fairly empty despite the fact that it had Carnaval.

Another thing that Carnaval had was a parade. Eventough the parade wasn’t as extravagant as Rio’s would have been, i still liked it. I mean any Carnaval parade for me is fine because i haven’t known anything else. If anything, i felt that the Carnaval in BH was more of the povo because not everything was expensive, and practically everyone was dressed up myself included, and overall enjoying each other’s company.

Gabriella, Izabel, Karol, and I fantasiadas at one of the many blocos
Gabriella, Izabel, Karol, and I fantasiadas at one of the many blocos
Karol, Artur, and eu (i’m a gypsy, duh) at a different bloco
Karol, Artur, and eu (i’m a gypsy, duh) at a different bloco

Izabel’s and Karol’s costumes were a hit, practically everyone wanted to take a picture with them. And thanks to their help as well as Gabriella’s mom and dad’s, I was able to get butterfly wings for my butterfly costume. In the picture with Karol and Artur, i’m dressed as a gypsy.
I’d say overall Carnaval was a success, and I really enjoyed hanging out with my roomies and fellow Letras peeps. Besides, I got practically a week off from school. And wait, what? It’s March? This semester is going by way faster than last, and i’m not sure how i feel about that.