Mass gathering at Rio Carnival at the Sambadrome with elite samba schools participating.

Anthropology: A Look into Rio Carnival, one of Earth’s Greatest Annual Festivals

A great Brazilian Annual Festival, the Rio carnival has impressed millions of visitors across the world. The center of attraction is the Samba Dance. Further Afro-European culture gets reflected. Furthermore, a glimpse of the perfect Brazilian culture gets portrayed in the Rio carnival. Thousands of Samba dancers from renowned Samba Schools are honored to perform. It’s a spectacular sight to find the dancers performing at the Sambadrome. In front of a large number of spectators. Especially the colorful costumes were the most eye-catching feature that charmed the viewers. Each year five days before Ash Wednesday, the festival is organized. 

Rio Carnival

About Rio Carnival

The start of Lent season in Catholic Christianity tradition is signaled over Rio Carnival. Before]e the stadium Sambadrome, the participants i.e. the samba dancers from top samba schools used to meander through the streets of Rio. Moreover, at the very moment, the Sambadrome was created in 1984, the event got shifted. It was built with the capacity to accommodate 90,000 viewers and 5000 participants. A panel of 40 eminent judges was used to evaluate the integrity of dance and music. Further, scoring was done based on the costumes the dancers wore during the event. Even the viewers were known to be dancing along with the participants. The winners were declared on the Ash Event.

Party fever grabs Rio de Janeiro in February and March when the Carnival begins. It is known to be the most lively city in the world. Visitors all over the world assemble as the Rio carnival starts. 

Brief History of Rio Carnival

The European fashion trend of fashion parades similar to one in Paris was introduced in Rio as well by Brazilian Bourgeois in the 1930s. Since then parades and row dancing became a custom. Events like dancing and singing in the city’s neighborhood. Moreover, each district is represented in the costumes. 

Commencement of the carnival begins with handing over the keys by the king of Rio-de-Janeiro to a mythical figure king Momo. The festival lasts for five days. Starting Friday night till the afternoon of Ash Wednesday. The days vary between 4rth February and 10th March. However, partying by visitors and locals starts in January itself. 

Sambadrome And Rio Carnival

Sambadrome is an open theater where spectators gather to participate in the Samba dance program. Top samba schools fight for the title in the stadium along Marques de Sapucai Avenue. In 1984, the stadium was conceptualized to hold Oscar Niemeyer. The main events of the carnival take place within the stadium to enjoy the program. The rhythmic samba parade along with loud drum beats create a mesmerizing ambiance. 

For your information competitions among dancers from various samba schools can be seen every day. Besides the main Rio carnival, visitors can see how schools compete for superiority. Every night after 9 PM dancers perform at the Sambadrome each for 70 to 80mins span. The performance continues late in the night and gets judged every day. Participant samba schools are nominated who appear for the final event.

Why Was Sambadrome Created?

There is a seating facility of 90,000 spectators but the number expands during the actual Rio Carnival when about 2 crore visitors take to the road for celebrating. Why was Sambadrome created? The requirement of visitors’ comfort and earning revenue from the sale of tickets, led to the requirement of constructing a stadium. There are four varieties of tickets sold. Each ticket has certain advantages. Hence, it is important you know the meanings well before purchase. However, the spectators viewing experience is kept in view all the time. The variety of tickets available are front box, luxury

The site selection for constructing the Sambadrome was not accidental. A dance form that represents both African and Brazilian forms started at the house of an African slave. The stadium has been constructed at that very location. The Samba Schools conduct their training at the Quadras or courts outside the Sambadrome. Besides, for practice samba routines at samba parlors or Gafeira spread across the vicinity of Sambadrome. Not only practice suites, allocated chairs, and grandstands.

Rio Carnival

Historical Facts About Sambadrome

One such ancient establishment Estudantina can be visited for photography.

Attractions Near Sambadrome

  • The park is called “Campo de Santana Square”. You can enjoy sightseeing while on a leisure walk. Flora and Fauna together with man-made lakes and fountains may impress you. Moreover, a shrine dedicated to Benjamin Constant the legendary thinker and painter of France can be found at the center of the park.
  • The birthplace of the Federation of Brazil is a must-visit location in the park called Parca XV. Moreover, palace Tradentis and Paco Imperial can be found here.
  • If you want to spend some time in tranquility, The St. Benedict’s Monastery and its heavenly interiors can make you spellbound
  • The compound building which serves as a warehouse for samba school costumes is named Cidade de Samba. A walk-through will make you understand how the flamboyant dresses are going to be made. The final thing would be used by samba schools in Rio carnival
  • Many eateries, cafes, restaurants, and snack bar options are there near Sambadrome. However, snacks can be bought from counters available within the stadium. Not to divert you from any event of the parade, hawkers are there to serve you soda and beer.

Your choice and budget are two factors that provoke you to dine outside. Otherwise, you can enjoy child beer with fried Sardine at Beco de Sardinas. Gain insight into why locals enjoy the food here. Additionally, if you prefer German food Bar Louie is an old joint you can try.

Samba Schools at Rio Carnival

Sophisticated arena for enhancing the Samba dance moves and the colorful costumes are recognized as Samba Schools. The main intent of the schools is to spread Brazilian culture all through the world. Representatives of small towns or favelas join the schools. The schools provide lucrative employment scope for locals located in Samba City. The schools at different places perform their fundraising programs. 

The age-old African music and traditional dance forms from the 8th century are retained by the Samba schools. Moreover, the Rio carnival has been stated as blending the old with modernistic thoughts. Rehearsals begin as soon as the theme gets finalized. Most rehearsals and preparations at Samba Schools begin in October. It peaks during December and January. If you want to party to the Samba performance during the rehearsal phase you can do so. You can enter free, a prior impression of costumes and preparation of each group.

Samba Schools Participation

The final rehearsals take place in the Sambadrome. Not only its musical, lights, sounds and beautifully dressed Samba Queens can be sighted. In the Rio carnival, more than 70 Samba schools participate. Each school represents a unique style. Keep a watch on some best schools of their own accord

  • The most popular school in the lot is Beija Flor. In comparison, the school enjoys a maximum fan base.
  • Another school, which is also the oldest in Rio, Mangueira. This school also has a huge fan following.
  • The unique African costumes were worn by the Salgueiro school also attract millions of hearts.
  • If you intend to visualize the social and civic structure issues of Rio, the school Sao Clemente gives you the opportunity. Besides, a lot of spectators view their representation as impressive.

If there wasn’t any stiff competition amongst schools, the standard of samba dance that we see today couldn’t get uplifted

Greatest Show On Earth

Copacabana Magic Ball and Rio Carnival

If you are searching for a high-profile party venue in Rio, the Magic Ball event in Copacabana Palace will be a terrific experience. This Magic Ball event is the most awaited party held in Rio. Not only glamorous but luxurious as well. Lots of celebrities both national and international form the glamour quotient of the party. To add to the glitters of the Magic Ball party women wear fancy dresses whereas men in suits and ties. Moreover, the dance floor remains occupied as people struggle to make space. What can you expect? A glamorous Copacabana Palace packed with glamour.

The photographers from the press and the media people are found to capture the beautiful costumes and celebrities as they arrive on the red carpet. In the earlier Magic Ball events held during Rio carnival Paris Hilton, Gerald Butler, hoards of south African socialists, and film stars earned repute.

Economic Benefits of Rio Carnival

The carnivals are known to be a multi-million industry. With a huge number of foreign tourists gathering to participate in the celebration, the economy boosts up. Moreover, the sale of tickets to attend the Rio carnival adds to the benefits, Only 90,000 seats and a lakh visitors intending to buy tickets face too much competition. Moreover, each ticket has advantages of its own. Each ticket has variable prices. To grab the best seats, buying tickets starts beforehand.

So, you can envisage the cutthroat competition to make your presence inside Sambadrome. Don’t give up various hotels and restaurants in the Scala region. Further, if you have a low budget, you can associate with the samba schools when they perform on the Rio streets. You get a free entry but on the condition, you buy a shirt to signify which school you are supporting.

Street Parties During Rio Carnival

In the whole world, the best street parties of all are held during the Rio carnival. A lot of balls and masquerade parties are organized during this occasion. But street parties are more attractive and attract thousands of tourists without any limitation. Further, it proves spending top dollars for any event does not mean interest. The visitor’s top choices are the parties organized by Bandas and Blocos. The venue is Cinelandia in a public square where millions gather. The restaurants and bars 

The parties held at the cinema square are mostly meant for older generations. Songs and kinds of music from the forties and sixties. Thousands of semi-clad tourists gather high in spirit. It’s not always only alcohol but the synchronization of drum beats and horns. The spot of cinema square is favored for celebrating Hoi Polloi. The troupe of Blocosand Bandas also work in support of Samba Schools at large.

The Sambadrome is the favorite destination to visit during Rio Carnival. Nevertheless, celebrations happen all around Rio. There are almost 300 street parties and more are sprouting like mushrooms all over Rio. Government is really worried over the spread of this magnitude.

Street Bands

The oldest street band in Rio is Cordao do Bola Pestra. Its popularity insisted they perform at Copacabana beach at one point in time. Whereas a new home for them is at Avenida Rio Branco. Well if you want to enjoy partying on streets across Rio, the best options are Cacique do Ramos and Bafo da Once. They schedule the parties starting Saturday up to fat Tuesday i.e. the day before the lent day begins. 

Greatest Show On Earth


Bandas and Blocos are the best-known street party organizers. Through a definite route in Rio, the parade proceeds enthusiastic visitors join, and by the end of the parade, the street parties begin. The street parties are banished with street bands. Both Blocos and Bandas have street bands to entertain the visitors. But the Bandas street bands are different. They have bass groups who use bass instruments while playing songs. The group of Bands street bands struggles hard to survive the next year’s carnival. The Government sponsorship is not available to them. Only the support from eager neighborhoods keeps them moving. All through the year they vigorously practice choreography and music for drawing bigger crowds in Carnivals. To sustain they sail souvenirs and tee-shirts to make ends meet.

Attracting Biggest Crowds

The attraction of the biggest crowd of followers can be found for street bands Volta Alice, Christ’s armpit, and Simpatia e-Quase Amor. The oldest band that started playing in the Rio carnival in 1965, Banda de Ipanema, received the heritage category in 2004. Moreover, Banda de Santa Clara, Bloco Suvaco de Cristo, Banda de São Ferreira get known as the best street bands of Rio carnivals.

Latest Updates on Rio Carnival

No one had an idea during the last carnival that something like the deadly Covid-19 pandemic would overshadow Brazil’s age-old tradition of Rio carnival. Even in 2020, the carnival was organized fruitfully. The carnival was postponed till July 2021. But due to rising cases of corona diseases in Brazil, the plans won’t happen. Further, the Mayor added while he expressed his grievance for deviating from the traditional celebrations, there is a lack of time to get prepared. Mainly rehearsals are required for the best outcome. He also expressed an inability to conduct such rehearsals in times of pandemic. Something has happened for the first time in history. However, he expressed his confidence in organizing the 2022 Rio carnival by the time vaccination is over.

Rio Carnival

Significance in Anthropology

The Rio carnivals are the best event on earth. You can feel how African and European traditions and cultures get blended. The Samba dance competition is the epicenter of interest among visitors from around the world. Moreover, the carnival reflects Brazilian culture. The Sambadrome along with the parade of Samba Dance, music, drum beats, and lights create a mystic environment.

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