Portuguese Language Blog

Carnival in Brazil: São Paulo Posted by on Feb 24, 2009 in Culture, Customs, Entertainment

This week, we’re looking at different Carnival celebrations throughout Brazil. Today, we’re going to look at Carnival in São Paulo.

Carnival in São Paulo is very similar to Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Percussion bands leading parades of revelers through the streets called blocos are common, which began in the early 1900s.

Samba schools first originated in the 1950s, many of which were composed of migrants from the countryside when the coffee industry went into decline. Samba schools are made up of composers, singers, dancers and percussionists that perform samba during Carnival. One unique thing about these schools is that several of them originated from soccer fan clubs, like the Gavioes.

Now, São Paulo’s samba schools perform in the Anhembi Sambodrome, designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer. There, they compete for the honor of best school. Fourteen of the premier schools compete over two nights, the Friday and Saturday before Ash Wednesday. There are two hundred samba schools and blocos in São Paulo city. Vai-Vai is the city champion with 13 wins.

News from this year’s Carnival in SP:

Fifty year-old woman tries to break world’s record for samba school performances

Candomble leaders pray for spiritual protection in the Sambodrome

Expositions open to document the history of Carnival in Sao Paulo

Samba schools and blocos complain about city funding

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