Brazilian Madness

Ana Castellanos

There is a country that is known world- wide for three things, the beauty and extravagance of its beaches, music, and women. It was on Feb. 2 that a small taste of each came together at the famous Queen Mary in Long Beach. This was the eighth annual carnival to come to Long Beach, California with what better theme than “Carnaval goes green- preserving the environment and our planet.”

The event opened with the talented Casa do Samba school, as they paraded with carnival rhythms of Rio de Janeiro, followed by Dandara “Brazil’s Tina Turner” and Pra Gandia Band performing classic sambas, axe, marchinhas, frevo, and reggae grooves from Bahia, Brazil. Dandara has been able to capture the rhythms of Caribbean, African, and Cuban culture, mixing them all together to create a hypnotizing dance.

Another star of the night was Marissa Duke, the samba queen from San Francisco, featuring dancers with the famous “barely there” costumes decorated with sequins, beads and feathers. The spectacular show with Duke and her samba kept everyone from standing still.

The history of Samba and the carnivals originates from slaves who were brought to Brazil from Africa. In most of the African traditions, they parade in circles through their villages, wearing masks and costumes with large feathers that were believed to overcome illness, pains, and heartbreaks while promoting spiritual growth and the rebirth of other worlds.

“The reason I wanted to go to the carnival was mainly to be exposed to the Brazilian culture,” said Lorena Arias, 19, undecided. “It’s always attracted me to meet new cultures, try their foods and meet their people.”

The European culture impacted the birth of the Brazilian Carnival just as much as the African culture. It was in Italy that the tradition of wild costumes started. They wore them before the first day of lent. The festival was called “carnival”, which means “to put away meat.” The carnival in Italy became outrageously popular after a few years, spreading to neighbor countries in Europe, such as Spain, France and other Catholic countries.

It was then that the Catholic colonies from Europe started to spread through the world trading slaves, where the African and European traditions collided in the beautiful place called January River (Rio de Janeiro), giving birth to what we know today as the “Brazilian carnival” where the daily worries are set aside while the carnival lasts.

“It’s events like these that take me back home,” said Armando Lima, 22, business. “This is a small taste of what Brazilian culture has to offer.”

The formula to a good samba is the basic construction of playful and fun rhythms, where couples can trade sensual and stylish movements throughout the beats of the samba. But even for those who prefer to dance without a partner, there is the famous “samba no pe” the dance often seen practiced by the beautiful women wearing large feathers, dancing solo, with some of the most sophisticated body movements humans have ever seen, shaking their hips and using a whole lot of footwork.

This is exactly what took place inside the Queen Mary from 8 p.m. until the early hours of morning, bringing with it the physical and emotional beauty of the people. There were only good vibes passed among the Brazilian community and the Brazilian fans, even if the weather was chilly and cold outside. Images from Rio de Janeiro’s carnival were broadcast through several large screens via TV Globo, Brazil’s main television network.

The perfect components for a celebration, including beautiful people, delicious food and good music were present that night. A portion of each ticket helped The Children of the World, a self enlightenment institute and “Eyes of a Child.” For more information about the events, visit www.braziliannites.com.

Some of the most exotic women of Brazil danced all night.

The winner of the Rio de Janeiro trip partying the night away.

Carnival goes green, preserving the environment and the planet

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