Famed as one of the biggest parties on planet earth, Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a crowd-drawing spectacle; and explosion of samba, dance and sequins, a juicy jewel in the party calendar. The average reveler need only pick-up their feet and be carried along, absorbed into the madness of it all. Although Rio may host the most high-profile of these celebrations, o carnaval has a long and multi-faceted history, meaning that many unique and wonderful celebrations have blossomed up all over the continent. Dehouche would therefore like to pay homage to some of the more ‘strange and alternative’ carnivals to have emerged from our favorite continent.
Bloco de Bob
You need only walk a few blocks in Ipanema or Leblon to realise how much Cariocas love their dogs. With preferences leaning towards the more ‘travel-sized’ pooch, these pampered pets can be seen accompanying lunching ladies and skater-boys alike. As a dog in Rio’s Zona Sul, and indeed in any one of Brazil’s hip metropolitan pockets, you may find that you are subjected to an abundance of over-affectionate yet of course well-intended gifts from your doting owner. They may put you in a dress, make you wear four tiny dog-sized shoes, or adorn you with any number of accessories- hats, sunglasses and doggy jewellery included. And so you see, it would not be fit for any celebration, large or small, to grace Brazil without a showing a little love for their furry-friends. The Bloco Bob, running now for 8 years in Campinas, São Paulo state, drew crowds of over 700 this year. With dog masks, towering floats, and of course the stars themselves decked out in costumes enviable even to us humans. ‘Cãonaval’ looks set to become a prominent and popular fixture in any modern carnival celebration. Sao Paulo
Bloco da Lama
Paraty is one of Dehouche’s favourite destinations for well-heeled and sophisticated travelers. However as Carnival fever infects every house-hold, the locals prepare to carry out a near 500 year-old tradition, originating from their almost prehistoric ancestors. Jolly on pinga, as the locals call cachaça, everyone charges down to the river banks, lathering themselves head-to-toe in mud and return to swarm cobbled streets of this antique colonial town – a filthy and indistinguishable mob but truly embodying ‘alegria’ – a happiness and freedom which is of course an essential notion to any carnival celebration. Paraty, Costa Verde, Brazil.
Boat Festa Carnaval
If you get tired of following a bloco on the hot tarmac under the Rio summer sun, this year sees Rio’s first marine bloco take to the seas! The basis is four boats each with different music – one samba, one Baile Funk, one House music and one “Sertanejo” (cheesy country music undergoing a big revival in Brazil at the moment). They all set off at 2pm from the Marina da Gloria complete with as many boats that want to follow, and the best thing about it, every hour and a half they’ll link up so you can switch boats if you fancy a change of rhythm. Thousands of drunk people jumping between boats in the middle of the Guanabara bay, what could possibly go wrong?! Rio de Janeiro