The Carnaval carioca and street blocks
Everybody knows that the “Carnaval carioca” is the best in the world! However, the party is not just a single activity. The merrymaquers can parade and watch the Samba Schools Parade; can “play” in masked balls or join in the street blocks. Join a carnival block is an unforgettable experience. The only problem is you like so much and want to go to all! But that couldn’t be possible, there are several, and let’s talk a little about this tradition. – Enjoy the Santa Teresa blocks and the others near by the Rio Forest Hostel.
A block is a group of people parading during Carnaval, organized or not, often wearing the same costume or following a theme. Called street blocks, the revelers are welcome anyway, even with casual clothes, bathing suits, with or without props. Anything goes!
Since the nineteenth century, the streets of Rio de Janeiro are occupied in the days of Carnaval, by groups of people in search of fun. The first records of licensed blocks dating back to 1889. In the early twentieth century there were no major distinctions between the various types that occupied the city and could be called “ranchos”, “cordões”, “grupos”, “sociedades” or blocks. In the 1920s, to enhance the national identity, the importance of Rio’s Carnaval was detached and became a “summary” of the Brazilian cultural diversity. Since then the “confusion” has become a bit more organized.
Street blocks, “blocos de embalo” or “blocos de sujos” , these manifestations are very frequent in Rio de Janeiro. The improvisation and disorganization are the keynote. Groups with the same fantasy, people with improvised costumes, or even casual clothes, get together at the Carnaval and the sound of instruments (many of them also improvised) and parade through the streets , singing and dancing samba and Carnaval music called “marchinhas”. You can’t let it go !
Blocks of Rio de Janeiro
In Rio there are more than 400 blocks. Among them, the Rio Forest Hostel recommends some for the guests, friends and tourists :
- Céu na Terra – Parade in the Santa Teresa neighborhood with costumed revelers to the sounds of carnival marches. – Learn more at: https://www.facebook.com/bloco.ceunaterra
- Carmelitas – An irreverent block making its parade in the hills of Santa Teresa, in the city of Rio de Janeiro since 1991. It started as a casual tribute to Santa Teresa (where is located the Forest Hostel Rio) Carmelite Convent, where the cloistered nuns live. Legend says that one of the nuns would have crossed the convent wall at Carnival and mingled with the revelers. Learn more at: http://www.blocodascarmelitas.com.br/
- Cordão do Boitatá – The block was founded in 1999 and parades through the downtown streets to the sound of samba, choro and marchinhas. Participates annually at the Baile Municipal at Praça XV de Novembro. But with the changes in the blocks’ agenda, it is better to take a look at the pages: https://www.facebook.com/events/1734383756799007/ and https://www.facebook.com/Cord%C3%A3o-do-Boitat%C3%A1-257847310952459/timeline
There are many others. Check out the complete list and agenda of the blocks and avoid the biggest (analyzing the estimated audience) and the distant ones. Improvise a fantasy, drink plenty of water and good Carnaval!