Carnival: Brazilian Body and Soul

Hello there,

This is about Carnaval, remember that’s how we call it in Brazil, and since in this post I intend to speak up and say how I feel about it, that’s how I am going to address it: -Carnaval.

I beg your pardon for this is not a pretty post. I hold this opinion within my very soul. Let me tell you a bit more about myself, than about my own country, but most of all you also have to know I do love Brazil.

After that you will be entitled to your own opinion, which I will respect. In fact, I promise to publish every single one of them as long as I do not find it offensive.

I am what is to be called in Brazil “mulata”, you may know those people who are African-descendant, half black half white. Light skinned. A proud one I must say so. Coming from a middle-class family, I had access to reasonably good schools, homing, education, and an honorable life style.

My father was a classic musician, never liked samba pretty much,  preferring instead “MPB” (Brazilian Popular Music), jazz, rhythm and blues, the Good Oldies and so on.

My Mom was brought up in a Catholic boarding school and rarely expressed her feelings through music.

So my feet got to learn Samba when I was already a teenager. I had never been encouraged by my parents, but can’t say they opposed to it either.

People usually get to dance it in circles in family gatherings on weekends; we basically watch and learn and practice does make perfect.

By my 19 I did it really well! I loved dancing with friends at night, or afternoon clubs, had never been in any kind of “trouble”, never drunk alchool, tried drug, or even had connections with people who did so. I had my own job, and was able to afford my own University fees. Therefore my parents allowed me to continue going to those places. My friends and I just loved dancing, that  was all.

I was also naive enough to support Samba schools, participating in all the preparations that preceded the big party of Carnaval itself.

Never realized the major efforts people did to collect funds for the Parade, never knew back then that most money involved in the Carnaval Parade comes from money laundering, but before the board of the Samba school asks for this humiliating “support”, many of the participants get to donate even the little money they would have used to buy more household food!

Having studied Culture as a different subject for three years as part of my Tourism Graduation Course I really changed my mind.

It was then that I learned that for many people going to the Sambodromo even for one day, made them feel as if they left the  status of being poor and got  to be queens and kings, during this spectacle. People say that Carnaval is the moment the world turns its eyes to the poor, in admiration, wishing for a moment they were in their shoes.

They are it.

For a fraction of time the world belongs to them. The only day they are covered with sparkling costumes, dancing and moving frantically, seducing, showing off, freely at the sound of live music produced by themselves.

It hypnotizes people, and unfortunately in many circumstances is what makes  them carry on their miserable lives day-after-day…for the year to come.

Another dark side of Carnaval to me is that as the years pass by it has proven to be more of a reason for people to “misbehave”, going over their limits, getting killed in stupid massive accidents, dressing nothing, disclosing their own bodies publicly -which should be their temples-bringing my people to a place close to disgrace.

I will never forget once in Holland, and not by myself, walking downtown Rotterdam I had been checked down by a man. The way he looked at me made me sick to my stomach. After walking for a block or so I saw the reason for that look: There was a huge poster of a “mulata” dressed in Carnaval let’s say “attire” hanging at a newsstand.

To say the least this is the image people outside Brazil have of people inside Brazil. And may I dare say it is as sad as it may seem.

Pitifully it hasn’t changed over the decades.

I wish we could only go out and play during Carnaval, having fun for a few days, I wish the media paid more attention to the fun part of it. Helped us more in trying to become a better and more equal, respectful country.

It hurts deeper than the skin, reaches our souls, goes beyond it.

As sad as it  may seem.

Drikka.

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6 thoughts on “Carnival: Brazilian Body and Soul

  1. I am glad I read this. As an American, I can honestly say that the stereotype of Brazilians is purely sexual. We never talk about them having brains, or being good at business, or having some international commodity outside of Brazilian bombshells with Brazilian booty and Brazilian waxes. I am very worried about what will happen during the Olympics, the tourists who will go there expecting one thing, and maybe even getting it because they have money. And that was one reason I never wanted to go to Brazil, why should I go there for a vacation to relax, when I would have to worry about my man oogling all the women (who, in my head, would naturally be flirting back due to their “nature”). It’s ridiculous.

    I recently moved to Germany and was having a conversation with the women at my knitting group. I said that each country thinks some other country has more sexuality, or more beautiful women, and that Brazil was the top of the chain, but really there’s a certain percentage of people who are truly drop dead gorgeous, and the vast majority of people are just average. And one lady said “I have never seen an ugly Brazilian”, and I said that maybe Brazil does not let ugly people out, because it would hurt their reputation. But on a deeper note, on one hand I think all the tourism money will be good for Brazil, but with the favelas and the other problems, will having rich people there looking for sexual Brazilian bombshells to take advantage of them be a good thing?

  2. love it! 🙂

    i am brazilian too, and been back in brazil since last year… still struggling to come to terms with this situation.

    what u said about carnaval, and how poor people feel likes kings and queens for a day is beautiful and it really melts my heart…. for a few seconds. but then it makes me kinda angry, to think that these people will take money that could be used to feed the family for that shameless parade, but won’t take their jobs seriously. it pains me to see so many people with such potential just being lazy and not wanting to do some hard work. i know there are a lot of hard working people out there, and my hat goes off to them, but i’m tired of seeing people who want nothing to do with work and then have the nerve to complain that i get to spend money on trips and nice clothes and they don’t, because they don’t have any. my money comes from a lot of study and hard work, they should try that.
    *sigh* anyways, i wished things worked differently here. i do love brazil, more than most people think i do, because i complain a lot. but my complains and wish to make a change are exactly that – love for the country and wish to make it better.

    and to the lady who commented above, if your friend ever went downtown in my hometown… oh dear lord. it’s an ugly people feast.

  3. I have never heard of “Carnival” in Brazil, but from your telling of it, aside from the clean fun people have, it sound very much like Marti Gra (SP?) we have here in New Orleans. And it sounds like it caught up with the “bad” “fun” they now have at that event! It is sad to see our times change so!!

    Friar Don, OBR
    http://exposeyourblog.com/

  4. Hola Drikka,
    Te felicito, eres extraordinaria. Soy de México y no conozco Brazil, pero estoy de acuerdo contigo en que lo que señalas es la percepción que mucha gente tiene de tu país o de sus mujeres o del Carnaval.
    Me encantó tu mensaje y lo he compartido, creo que es una excelente manera de ir cambiando esa percepción. Te admiro porque estàs haciendo algo muy positivo. Me enganché con el texto, pero ahora mismo pasaré a admirar tus trabajos. Un fuerte abrazo y todo mi respeto y admiración.

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