Today marks the beginning of Rio Carnival, the world famous 4-day festival that fills the streets of Rio de Janeiro with colorful floats and bare breasts before everyone starts making sacrifices for Lent. Think of it like a bigger, less budget version of Mardi Gras.
There are Carnival celebrations (or Carnaval, if you want to get fancy) in many parts of the world this time of year, but the Rio spectacle is the largest with more than two million people participating per day. It’s also probably the most widely recognized, thanks to its trademark parade of local samba schools. Approximately 200 of the city’s famed samba schools are divided into 5 groups which then take to the streets and attempt to outshine each other.
When we say “school,” we don’t mean a couple of teenage dancers being led by a coach who’s living vicariously through them. Samba schools are more like local clubs and can be comprised of more than 4,000 neighbors, all teamed up during Rio Carnival prove their worth against other clubs/neighborhoods. Each team decides on a theme to portray and then works to create the best aesthetic representation of that theme through floats, costumes, and music – so basically it’s like a competition to throw the best theme party, which is a commendable challenge.
We could keep talking about the Rio Carnival process, but such a colorful event really deserves to be shown. So please, let us turn it over to this tilt shift video of last year’s festival. Thought we don’t understand how tilt shift works, we appreciate how it takes such a monstrous event and makes it palatable – almost literally, considering how everything looks candy coated and sweet enough to eat: