Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Gladys Hayden
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.
Behind the band come six "strong men" from the village often the tradition of carrying the torch or flambeaux is passed from father to son as the elder gets on in years. They sometimes have a helper walking beside them just in case. It s a hard and difficult job. The torches are similar in length to a caber and have been soaked for many months to ensure they stay alight. The flambeaux are then followed by many floats in which the local inhabitants deck both the float and themselves out in a variety of colours and costumes. Many are topical political statements. The more whisky that s handed around the waiting crowd the funnier they seem.
Mardi Gras colors chosen by Rex king of carnival in 1892 are purple (for justice) green (for faith) and gold (for power). Generally Mardi Gras beads are a thin strip of beads made from plastic in one color only but the beads can come in every color under the sun. The most prized colors to receive are the Mardi Gras colors. Strands of bead also come in a wide variety of diameters and designs. The larger the beads and the more elaborate the design the more desirable the strand of beads. Carnival and specifically Mardi Gras Day is a fantastic way to spend time together as a family.