Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Kelly Roberson
Rio s Mardi Grad carnival is famed not only for its brilliant parades but its street parties the biggest of which is held on Cinelândia Square brimming with acclaimed orchestras and singers for people to dance the night away. The elaborate parades staged by the city s major samba schools in the Sambadrome are world famous. Parading in the Sambadrome runs over four entire nights and is part of an official competition divided into seven divisions in which a single samba school is declared that year s winner. As well as the five main parades visitors can enjoy the Carnival balls held around the city including the famous Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace Hotel which requires guests to wear black tie or a luxury costume and often a number of international and local VIPs are in attendance.
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.
Though debutante balls and other high society events marking the holiday are still prominent they are no longer the only way to participate in the excitement. A trip to New Orleans during Carnival season is highly recommended if you wish to see everything first-hand but if that is too long a way from home try setting up a Carnival parade in your city or neighborhood. You need to organize some participants get plenty of festive decorations and start thinking of the most outrageous costumes not to mention get the permission and cooperation of local authorities. If that is hard to come by throwing a Carnival-themed party is another great way of sharing the thrill of Mardi Gras.