When you think about Carnival in Brazil, you probably think of Rio and its Carnival Parade. Thousands of pictures of samba schools are broadcast worldwide as well as the parade itself. During Carnival days, the Sambadrome and Rio become the perfect scenario for the so-called “biggest show in the world”.
Talking about samba schools. Samba schools (generally speaking, not only in Rio) were mostly founded thanks to the collaboration of neighbors who wanted to attend carnival. As time passed by, the happening turned (in Rio and in São Paulo) into a very special industry, so that people from the communities earn their money from Carnival, working for this one day (the day of the parade) during the whole year.
During carnival, samba schools’ purpose is to compete with fellow rival schools; this happens during the parade. The competition is the climax of the whole carnival festival. A different theme is chosen by each school. To win, samba schools have to work not only to build the best floats and costumes but also to compose the best music and to move perfectly on the Sambadrome, sometimes even with choreographic dances in fancy costumes, in order to represent the story of the elected theme.
There is a special order that every school has to follow with their parade entries, as well as important roles of the porta-bandeira and mestre-sala, the passistas, baianas, and so on. The “allegoric floats” are also very important and most of the time very luxurious, once they carry the “destaques”, calling immediately the attention of the public that is watching the parade.
Street carnival. It is not mandatory to join the parade on the Sambadrome; you can attend the balls that are held in Copacabana Palace and beach, or be part of the very funny street festivals, which are filled by the locals. Anyone is allowed to participate in the street festivals, where irreverence, dancing and fun are the main ingredients.