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Rio Carnival
The carnival is merely the grandest volcanic eruption of intoxicating joie de vivre. Dancing, alcohol, beach, sport, and sun are the elixirs of life of the close to six million inhabitants of Rio de Janeiro. The extensive beaches, capped by Copacabana beach, are the center of this hunger for life.
Along the Atlantic shores of Copacabana, Ipanema, and Leblon there are tall apartment blocks of the well-heeled middle classes. Higher on the slopes of the steep hills like an admonition are the homes of the poor in the Favelas. A cable car runs every half hour from Praia Vermelha between Flamengo and Copacabana up to one of the two landmarks of Rio, the over 1,300 foot (400 m) high Sugar Loaf.
Brazil Carnival
Fourteen "samba schools" are selected for the final parade on those two nights (7 of them each night). Each f the schools has thousands of costumed marchers, dancers and singers. And each of has 80 minutes to march through the length of Sambodromo to dazzle the audience of more than 30,000 (and TV audience of more than one hundred million). 
Thinking about it, 80 minutes for each team and 7 teams per night, one night's event lasts longer than 10 hours! Since our seats were the cheapest, they are at the end of Sambodromo and next to the parade finish line. We pretty much did not see the heads of each samba school until 30 to 40 minutes after they marched into the Sambodromo. The music (each school has an original theme song, which they have to sing over and over again for 80 minutes!) is loud and infectious, the customs are colorful and lavish, and dancing numbers are dazzling and mesmerizing. But it was such a long night. After six samba school, it was almost 8 or 9 in the morning so I couldn't finish viewing the whole 7 teams of that night. 
Most of the best parts of that night was recorded in my camcorder (I recorded more than 80 minutes' footage). Here just some still photos to share with you. They don't even do the justice for what an extravaganza that night is.
Carnival
Carnival's roots go back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who celebrated the rites of Spring. In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church tried to suppress all pagan ideas, it failed when it came to this celebration. The Church incorporated the rite into its own calendar as a period of thanksgiving. The nations of Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal, gave thanks by throwing parties, wearing masks, and dancing in the streets. All three colonizing powers carried the tradition with them to the New World, but in Brazil it landed with a difference. The Portuguese had a taste for abandoned merriment, they brought the entrudo, a prank where merry-makers throw water, flour, face powder, and many other things at each other's faces. 
Brazil Carnival
Prior to 1840, the streets of Brazilian towns ran riot during the three-day period leading up to Ash Wednesday with people in masks hurling stink bombs and squirting each other with flour and strong-smelling liquids; even arson was a form of entertainment. In 1840, the Italian wife of a Rio de Janeiro hotel owner changed the carnival celebration forever by sending out invitations, hiring musicians, importing streamers and confetti, and giving a lavish masked ball. In a few years the masked ball became the fashion and the wild pranks played on the streets disappeared. 
Brazil Carnival nude
Brazil Carnival nude

Carnival's roots go back to the ancient Romans and Greeks who celebrated the rites of Spring. In the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church tried to suppress all pagan ideas, it failed when it came to this celebration. The Church incorporated the rite into its own calendar as a period of thanksgiving. The nations of Europe, especially France, Spain, and Portugal, gave thanks by throwing parties, wearing masks, and dancing in the streets. All three colonizing powers carried the tradition with them to the New World, but in Brazil it landed with a difference. The Portuguese had a taste for abandoned merriment, they brought the entrudo, a prank where merry-makers throw water, flour, face powder, and many other things at each other's faces. 

Prior to 1840, the streets of Brazilian towns ran riot during the three-day period leading up to Ash Wednesday with people in masks hurling stink bombs and squirting each other with flour and strong-smelling liquids; even arson was a form of entertainment. In 1840, the Italian wife of a Rio de Janeiro hotel owner changed the carnival celebration forever by sending out invitations, hiring musicians, importing streamers and confetti, and giving a lavish masked ball. In a few years the masked ball became the fashion and the wild pranks played on the streets disappeared.

Brazil Carnival
 
Today Rio de Janeiro has the biggest and best known pre-Lenten carnival in the world - its most colorful event is the Samba School Parade. The samba schools taking part in the parade - each roughly having three to five thousand participants - are composed overwhelmingly of poor people from the city's sprawling suburbs. Every carnival Rio's samba schools compete with each other and are judged on every aspect of their presentation by a jury. Each samba school must base its effort around a central theme. Sometimes the theme is an historical event or personality. Other times, it is a story or legend from Brazilian literature. The costumes must reflect the theme's historical time and place. The samba song must recount or develop it, and the huge floats must detail the theme in depth
Brazil Carnival
Mention Rio to anyone and immediately the name evokes images of sultry street parades, the Sugarloaf Mountain, Corcovado Christ statue, and the 'itsy-bitsy teeny weeny' bikinis on the beach at Ipanema. The exuberant cultural capital of Brazil is tucked between the mountains and the sea and is endowed with a natural beauty that ranges from the beaches to the mountain peaks. It also contains the biggest urban forest in the world, the Tijuca Forest, that was completely replanted during the second half of the 19th century.

The city throbs to the infectious beat of Brazilian music, the choro, the samba and the bossa nova, and is the main source of Brazil's national culture. Its annual carnival, known simply as Carnaval, draws together the population of the city (known as the 'Cariocas') ranging from rich to very poor who take to the streets for the world's largest samba parade on the Sambodromo.

Brazil

The city is capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, which encompasses most of Brazil's major tourist attractions.

Rio is a never-ending story made up of 150 districts each characterised by unique features, like Santa Teresa, which is reached by taking an old tram across an ancient aqueduct called Arcos da Lapa. In the central city area Rio boasts historic monuments and public buildings like the Municipal Theatre, the National Museum of Fine Art, the Itamaraty Palace, the National History Museum and the National Library. There are also beautiful examples of religious architecture such as the Sao Bento Monastery. No matter how long you spend exploring the city, it will always deliver new surprises.

To the north of the city is the Lakes region, which has more than 62 miles (100km) of beaches and sea-water lagoons and is the site of the main tourist resorts of Búzios, Cabo Frio, Arrial do Cabo, Rio das Ostras, Maricá and Saquarema

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