Join Rio De Janeiro Parade in Carnival Costumes

Every year, in the great samba stadium Sambódromo,a competition is held. The images of thousands of people parading the most colourful and elaborate costumes is well spread around the world. Almost all these pictures have their origin in the yearly carnival parade competition. Fourteen so called samba schools all try to please the judges and get the highest score. Qualities like theme, music, drum section and synchronization is judged. Every year one school from the so called Grupo de Acesso (second division) get promoted and the last of the 14 in Grupo Especial (first division) is relegated. On Carnival in Rio Saturday the second division parades and on Sunday and Monday it´s the first division.

The parade (or desfile) of each school lasts about 60-80 minutes. It consists of several vehicles and sections of around 200 people each where everyone wears a certain costume. A few of these sections are open to everyone so you can buy yourself a costume and participate. I did this 5 years ago, and it is a memory for life. Me and my friends paraded with Alegria da Zona Sul, a second division school with their base in the favelas in Copacabana. Dressed in golden shoes and silky red and white clothes we all met outside the big samba stadium Sambódromo. Standing outside waiting to go in you could feel how everyones expectations were high, a whole year of practice and preparations had been building up to this moment.

Hours and hours of waiting and then the fireworks marking the start of each school began. Our drum section started, 250 man strong hammering away. We all started to sing the song we had been told to learn. Slowly our parade began and before we knew it we were in the stadium. Singing, dancing and smiling in front of tens of thousands of people we slowly made our way down the long parade street. More than 60 minutes later it was over. It was like an explosion of colour, music and explosion that was over, we went back home to our friends flat in Leblon.
In retrospect I can easily say it was one of the greater experiences in my life. What I could have done better is to learn a bit more about the history and traditions of the carnival parade, especially about the particular school I went with. I don´t think going in the cheaper Grupo de Acesso lessened our experience, I’ve actually heard that you are given much more freedom in these since the bigger schools are so competitive they control you more. Rio Carnival Package Hostel for cheaper stay.

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