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The Carnival of Rio

As soon as they bury their feet in the sand, every visitor of Rio de Janeiro finds out immediately that this city is blessed. Besides boasting the most beautiful beaches in the world and the happiest people, it is also the birthplace of samba and the home of the biggest Carnival in the world.

Today the word "carnival" is globally associated with Brazil and has become synonymous with the country. But why is this event so special? What does the Rio Carnaval have that the others don't?

Here, we never let the samba die. For five days, the magic can be found in every corner of Rio. It can be in the blocos and cordões that dance down the avenues during the day. At the nighttime parties featuring world-renown DJs, Or, of course, in the dazzling parades of the Samba Schools. The whole city comes to a standstill, leaving its problems behind and building an unforgettable party that goes beyond just revelry.

Carnaval happens 40 days before Easter is celebrated during five days, starting on Friday and ending on the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday. Like Easter, the exact date of Carnaval changes every year. This relationship between the two has turned Carnaval into a time of extravagance before Lent.

Although popularized in the 1920s, the origins of the festival are much older, appearing in Greek, Roman and Mesopotamian cultures.

 

Carnival in Antiquity

Although the word "carnival" (from the Latin "to withdraw the flesh") is related to Catholicism, carnival is essentially a pagan festival that has always had in its core the subversion of roles and social-political norms. Subjects and prisoners would pretend to be kings, and in the Greek bacchanals and Roman celebrations of Saturnalia everyone would inebriate themselves with wine, music, food and lust.

With the Church's growing presence in the Western world, the feast began to have a set date starting before Lent. It was the only holiday in which it was permitted to commit sins and "excesses." In the Middle Ages, the carnivals marked the awakening of spring and in the Italian Renaissance, parades with masks and costumes were created for the celebration.

 

Roots of the Brazilian Carnival

The carnival manifestations arrived in Brazil around the year 1641, with the so-called Cavalhadas. These epic demonstrations commemorated the battles between the Moors and the Christians in the Middle Ages. The Entrudos - very popular until 1850 - saw people taking to the streets to pull pranks on each other, such as throwing eggs and wax balls filled with water.

In the second half of the century came the rise of the Grande Sociedades Carnavalescas ("Great Carnival Societies"). A conglomeration of Brazilian aristocrats who formed clubs that paraded down the avenues with costumes and luxurious masks, inspired by the Venetian tradition. The Great Societies quickly replaced the Entrudos and brought with them a novelty that is still seen today: the majestic floats.

The Cordões (meaning "strings"), followed by the Blocos (meaning "blocks"), first appeared in 1886. They started as a street party of people from the lower classes who dressed up in costumes and danced following a band - in a line, in the case of the Cordões and as a mass, in the case of the Blocos. This was also a popular time for street games such as confetti battles.

At the dawn of the new century, the Ranchos Carnavalescos (meaning "carnival ranches") began to gain strength. They featured processions that would parade to the sound of the "ranch marches," such as the famous Abre Alas by Chiquinha Gonzaga. The marchinhas - as they are affectionately called - were composed for wind instruments and are still popular today, where they are played mainly by nostalgic carnival Blocos. The dances of the Ranchos were derived from African culture and the celebration had a more mainstream appeal. The Ranchos also created some of the characters that are still present in the parades of the Samba Schools, such as the King, the Queen and the couple Mestre-Sala and Porta-Estandarte (later Porta Bandeira).

 

Present-Day Carnaval in Rio

Rio de Janeiro has always been the biggest stage for all of these carnivalesque displays. With the birth and popularization of Samba at Pedra do Sal in Rio in the late 1920s, the Samba Schools began to replace the Ranchos with their new rhythms and percussion instruments. The schools prepare and rehearse their parades all year. With floats, costumes and original Samba songs, they perform at the Sambadrome during four of the five days of carnival.

Today, the Carioca carnival is celebrated in many ways and the city is filled with people from all over the world partying under the stars that illuminate the Guanabara Bay. The main celebrations include galas and parties, street Blocos and, of course, the parades of the Samba Schools, which happen yearly during Carnaval.

 

 

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Join us for a safe and comfortable way to the show with various pick up point through out the city, and several Returns from the Sambodromo during and after the show.

Important informations and Conditions:

      1. Prices are per person for the round trip. From your pick-up point to the Sambadrome and back to the pick up point.
      2. In order for us to provide the best service, reservations for the Regular Shuttle can only be accepted up to 1 month in advance.
      3. This service is not private – in order to reserve a private transfer please contact us. Remember that small cars cannot access the Sambadrome, only 15-Seat vas or bigger.
      4. Cancellations can be done up to 14 days prior to Carnaval.
      5. Pick up point – the shuttles have pick up points in all main hotels in Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Barra da Tijuca, Botafogo and Centro. When reserving the transfer shuttles remember to let us know where are you staying so we can assign you to the closest pick up point possible.
      6. Six different slots will be provided for the shuttle transfer back: each one will be 15 minutes after the end of each Samba Schools Show, from the first to the last. The representative will be waiting  at the meeting point with Red flag and direct you to the bus.
      7. It’s very important to mention which sector you have tickets for, as both sections (odd and even numbers) need different shuttles that go on different routes. Rio-Tickets is not responsible for any delay, misunderstanding, and time lost due to writing the wrong sector at the time of reservation.
      8. For those who purchased a VIP Lounge ticket the shuttle service is included.
      9. The shuttle transfer towards the show will pass by the pick up points only once. It is the clients' responsibility to not be late. Rio-Tickets is not held accountable if the client is late and no refund is possible in that case.
      10. The drop off point and pick up point will be the same. Both the odd and even-numbered sectors will be notified upon arrival where they should head to meet a staff representative when wanting to return.
      11. Please be aware – The stadium area is very hard to access during Carnaval, and the traffic jam can cause delays. Rio-Tickets is not responsible for delays occurring because of traffic. We always advise before purchasing the shuttle service to consider using the Metro, which is sometimes less comfortable, but usually a bit faster.  

For those who want a worry-free trip to enjoy Rio's carnival, we have the option of delivering the tickets straight to your hotel. That will save you the trip to come pick them up at our Visitor's Center. 

To hire the delivery service, simply add it to your cart at the time of purchase of the tickets and one of our staff members will deliver it to you.

Information and Conditions:

  1. Price is per reservation for one address.
  2. Cancelation is possible up to 30 days prior to the show.
  3. Delivery must be made in person, at your hotel or apartment.
  4. Depending on the hotel policy, we are able to deliver it to the receptionist. You would need to give us an authorization per email with your reservation number and a copy of your passport.
  5. The delivery service is an exclusive service for clients of Rio-Tickets. It's not possible to hire this service for tickets bought through means other than Rio-Tickets.
  6. If purchasing the service at a later time or separately from the purchase of the tickets, please inform us of your booking number.
  7. If you're still unsure about your accommodation in Rio, you can always change the delivery address at a later date by sending us an email with your reservation number.