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Culture and Tradition in Brazil

Brazil is the land of all crossbreeding, the fruit of the exchanges between the Portuguese settlers, the former African slaves and the Amerindians. This mixing of cultures brought different traditions to the Brazilian people who, even today, are celebrated with fervour despite the omnipresence of Catholicism.

Culture and Tradition in Brazil - Brazil

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Welcome to Rio for the most famous carnival in the world! For three days, the Carioca capital will vibrate to the rhythm of the twelve best schools of samba. Like soccer clubs, they each have their own flags, colours and even supporters. Each school attributes itself a theme on which it will be inspired for the choice of the song, the costumes and the tanks during the carnival parade. They train throughout the year for this unique event that will see them compete for four days in an arena called the "Sambadrome", where only one school will emerge as champion.

For the story, "l'Entrudo" is at the origin of the Carnival of Rio. This Portuguese festival introduced in Brazil in 1723 consisted of a battle in the streets with eggshells, corn kernels, lemons, flour or dried beans. In 1928 the "Deixa Falar", the country's first samba school, was founded. It was gradually followed by the birth of other organisations so much that this dance, conveyed by the former Angolan slaves, became more and more popular.

The Carnival of Rio is commonly synonymous with joy and good humour. It is a timeless holiday where every Brazilian comes to draw from a whirlwind of colours, dance and music, a little magic.

The feast of Iemanjá

Iemanjá was originally a freshwater goddess of the Yoruba tradition in Nigeria who lived in rivers and streams. Her great fecundity made her the mother of all living things. During the slave trade she was the companion of the black slaves in the bottom of the hold, who left Africa forever to Brazil, invoking the mother goddess in their lamentations.
Iemanjá has become a siren with long jet black hair. She is the queen of the sea, the one who protects the fishermen, the shipwrecked and all the children. On the beach of Rio Vermelho in Salvador, Festa da Yemenjá, a celebration in honour, is held every year on February 2nd. Early in the morning, the population gather there, regardless of their origin, social class or enmity. Dressed uniformly in white, she comes to bring her offerings to Iemanjá, singing African melodies and dancing to the sound of drums.
Then, slowly, a long procession of small wooden boats advances towards the ocean, taking away the offerings. If they are engulfed by the waves, then it means that the goddess has accepted the presents. After the ritual, the festival continues with various events in the streets like concerts or carnival groups.

The feast of Iemanjá - Brazil

The folk festival of Parintins

Towards the end of June, a folk festival takes place in the peaceful village of Parintins in Amazonia. During three days and three nights, two groups of cattle breeders: the Caprichoso, dressed in blue and the Garantido, dressed in red, will compete in the "Bumbódromo" of Parintins in a healthy and good-humoured atmosphere.
Paired with percussion sound, dancers disguised as natives and oxen will stage the local legends, under the applause of 35,000 spectators. The performances are accompanied by fireworks and games of light, adding phantasmagoric notes to this ancestral fight between false pastors.
The boi-bumbá is at the centre of this festival. It is a folk dance miming the death and resurrection of an ox. According to legend, a black farmer would have put to death the bovid of his boss, in order to offer it to his pregnant wife as a soup. Subsequently, he was so afraid of his owner's wrath that he appealed to a "sorcerer" to resurrect him.

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