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in Love to Live Life

Brazilian Carnaval

  • February 15, 2016
  • By Brittany
Brazilian Carnaval

Hello and happy Monday!  A lot of people have today off from work to celebrate President’s Day but I’m sticking to my usual schedule and I have a fun little recap to share with you.

A week and a half ago I had the opportunity to attend a Brazilian Carnaval celebration in Sao Paulo.  Carnaval is one of the biggest Brazilian holidays starting on Friday evening and going through Wednesday.  Talk about a long weekend!

I was so excited to attend the Sambadrome this year where the big Samba parade was held.  I’ve heard about this and, of course, seen the outrageous costumes in the media but I wanted to experience the energy for myself.

me and pete!

We met up with some other internationals for pre-Carnaval appetizers and drinks and then set off by bus to the Sambadrome.

mom and i!

We arrived at about 8pm and the parade doesn’t even start until 11pm!  And, unfortunately, it started to rain.  Eek!  Luckily I had a hooded rainproof jacket with me (thanks to my mom!) and we were able to find some seats in the bleachers that were actually under cover.

float 5

It was a loooooong wait especially since they didn’t even start on time, but rather closer to 11:30pm!  Man, I was so tired by the time it started but we all were chatting and laughing and having a good time.

dancers 3

float 1

Once the floats started, it was insane!  I couldn’t believe how massive the floats were and how intricate they were done up.  Each Samba school did a theme and they had all these dancers dressed in different outfits coordinating with the theme that led and followed the float.  Plus, there were the dancers on the float and of course the Samba dancers themselves.  To be honest, there is actually a lot less Samba dancing than you might think but the parade has to keep moving to most of the participants do small dances or just kind of skip down the main aisle and there are a few talented samba dancers that really show off in between.

float 2

dancers 2

One of the cool parts of the whole experience was that the music is actually played live by a Samba band and you can see them on the float as they go by.  They play constantly while all the floats go down the aisle.  Then they stop and another set of floats and a new Samba band will go after a brief intermission.


The place was packed and it was so amazing to see these cool floats!  I’ve never seen anything like it before and it makes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade look almost like amateur hour!  We actually left incredibly early at just before 2am, although I was completely exhausted and wiped out!

dancers 1

float 4

I was so glad to be able to check out the Carnaval parade but it is also definitely one of those bucket list items you check off and then don’t have to do again.  Haha!  Maybe if it went from 7-10pm!

Readers, what great parade have you seen?  What bucket list item would you check off and then not have to do again?

By Brittany, February 15, 2016
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  • Holly
    February 16, 2016

    Can you believe Carneval??? The music, the costumes, the floats & decorations, the food and the DANCING !, your photos are so festive and fun ! hope you had a fabulous time.

  • Natasha
    February 16, 2016

    Oh my the carnival looks amazing! I don’t think I have seen a parade with such detail in the costumes, floats , and music. What is the reason for scheduling it so late? It sounds pretty fun to have it at that time even though exhaustion would quickly find me. I am glad you had such a good time and thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness
    February 16, 2016

    That looks like quite the show! Love your funky glasses! I’m sure that 2 am seems super late to a mama of a toddler!! Hell, I don’t even see that hour very often anymore haha…

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