The Carnival in Brazil and Mardi Gras in the United Stated are linked to a Christian tradition of going without during the season of Lent. In the US Mardi Gras is usually observed primarily in New Orleans Louisiana. In Brazil, the festival is observed in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Although Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) is celebrated in towns and villages throughout Brazil and other Catholic countries, Rio de Janeiro has long been regarded as the Carnival Capital of the World. The Rio Carnaval is not only the biggest Carnival, it has also a benchmark against which every other carnival is compared and one of the most interesting artistic events on the Globe. Almost everyone has heard of the Rio Carnaval. Foreign visitors to it alone number around 500,000 every year. [Rio-Carnival.net]
Most of the music played during the Carnival is Samba. Samba is a musical and dance form invented by afro-brazilians.
Samba is a Brazilian dance and musical genre originating in Bahia and with its roots in Brazil (Rio De Janeiro) and Africa via the West African slave trade and African religious traditions. It is recognized around the world as a symbol of Brazil and the Brazilian Carnival. Considered one of the most popular Brazilian cultural expressions, samba has become an icon of Brazilian national identity. [Wikipedia]
The Meaning of Carnival
The word carnival traditionally refers, in the US, to a traveling festival of games, shows and amusement rides. The games usually cost a dollar or two to play and include the chance to win some colorful prize like a large teddy bear. Games include the ring toss, balloon darts and ring the bell. They are generally games of skill or games of chance.
The original meaning of the word carnival comes from the Latin ‘carnelevare.’ Carne = meat and levare=to take away. The christian tradition during Lent is to abstain from eating meat. The Carnival festival and Mardi Gras are both ritual festivals during which observants feast and celebrate in ways they wouldn’t normally just before giving such things up until Holy Thursday, a period of 40 days.
Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a spectacular festival. For amazing images of what’s happening in the video above and other places that celebrate the carnival, check out The Big Picture.