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Carnival in Rio
The biggest carnival in the world happens on the streets of Rio de Janeiro and attracts about 2 million people every year. Usually, two weeks before the official start, the city gets crowded and people from every social class, colour and creed gather in crews, that are open to anyone that wants to join them. Other than this kind of party, the parades are a very important part of the carnival. The first contest was in 1932 and 52 years later the catwalk of samba, or most popular, "sambodromo", had its opening.
The parade consists in a contest between many "schools of samba” that have 80 minutes each to show what they took a year to prepare. The presentations have a plot and are divided in groups of people with the same costume, the "baianas", a traditional character from the northeast of Brazil, the kids and the front commission, a group of about 15 people acting and dancing. The floats are the main attraction and become every year more creative and innovative.
They are big structures representing something related to the plot, usually colourful, with movements and lights, like "The Shark", a float of the school Unidos da Tijuca that had a swimming pool on it, with a fake shark eating a real swimmer. Each contender has also the room-master and flag-carrier, a couple dressing typical full costumes from the XVIII century, dancing with lightness and elegance to show the school's official flag.
But none of this has the proper magic without the drums, a group of musician playing percussion instruments, giving life and excitement to whoever listen to it. Every year the competitors have to compose a theme related to the plot they chose, with lyrics, melodies and rhythm. It is impossible to put on paper the good energy and the wish to dance this songs bring to people, not even the grumpiest can resist. It's a trance we can go in without chemicals, and the best part of it is the assurance that next year it will happen again.