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February 25, 2009



Hi Gringa! Do you know the "Noite dos Mascarados" song, by Chico Buarque?

It's one of the best songs describing how people feel during Carnival in Brazil. It translates well the mixed feelings of happiness and sadness that surrounds this time of the year.

See what you think when you have some time:






Articles and photos like these make your fight against Carinval stereotyping that much harder.


I think another possible point of comparison is traffic and parties. I live in the LA area and I have also lived in Rio during carnival (que saudades!). When the oscars happen, getting across town on the main thoroughfares (not the highways) can be quite the process. It isn't just at the Kodak theater where the awards are telecast. West Hollywood and Beverly Hills host an awful lot of parties that spill into the streets and often the police close many lanes of traffic. But speaking as someone who once tried to get across Rio during carnival, it is NOTHING like the hell of sitting in a bus as it waits for a bloco to pass.
I think the main element that differentiates carnival from national festive traditions is the lack of music. Sure, there are street festivals during mardi gras with music (not just in NOLA, but all throughout the Gulf Coast region), but most U.S. citizens are completely oblivious about it. Nevertheless, the big draws that shut down cities for celebrations are almost entirely local and they lack music. For example San Francisco's street festivals often have costumes (Gay Pride, Fulsom Street Fair, and Bay to Breakers race), but again, there is very little music. As a music scholar, I think it's depressing.
Maybe the Super Bowl is a better point of comparison?


Halloween is NYC's carnival. The Oscar's are very lame,,,


I always thought that Halloween was the closest thing you guys had to a carnival celebration, with all the parties and costumes like Neil mentioned... It surely is a lot more fun and inclusive than the Oscars!


Hey its so funny how that happened with me too, in my case i'm a gringo in Boston from Olinda-PE Brasil, and i kept changing the channel every minute too! I've been here in mass for 2 years and half, and i know how hard it is being a gringo, i love the way that you write and your oponion about a lot things in Brasil. I have a friend that loves Rio too, he actually lived there for few months and speakes a sick portuguese. So i just wanna say that your blog is awesome, i'll keep reading about your trip. Peace out!


I don't see that many similarities.

Carnaval in Brazil is celebrated with different parties all over the country, and the Oscars is one party (which I find very boring).

Also, anyone can celebrate carnaval, rich, poor, young and old.

I believe that people give too much importance to the Oscars (and the american film industry). Of course, there are similar festivals in Cannes, Berlin and even Gramado, but they are less focused on "who's who" and "who's wearing what" and more focused on the work presented.

But that is just my personal opinion.

Jordana Lima

Hey Gringa! I loved your blog and your history with Brazil! I don't really like Carnival, I don't know why, I think I'm a boring person, I prefer the Oscar!! I didn't saw the entire Oscar, just the part when Robert pattinson presented! He was very handsome!! (My favourite vampire)! Forgetting this, I want to wish you good lucky in Brazil and keep writing your posts are awesome!

ps: Sorry about my bad English!

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