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Category Archives: CARNAVAL

How to be a wife, a mom, a cook, a household manager, and yet, enjoy Carnaval?

 

Oh well, the answer is actually, quite simple: join forces with other fun friends! Couples willing to help each other during the long 5-day weekend, where kids had no school!

 

Share responsibilities. Tag along with friends and other families, especially the ones facing the same challenges with their lovies…

Cook together. Host group parties. Let the kids run wild while the adults are enjoying some well-deserved quality time! Have the older kids teach the younger ones how to really get into the “Bolivian Carnaval” traditions: the water fight, with latex globes filled with water, water guns and foam!!! Let the good fun begin, keeping a close eye on your ‘little warriors’ while they’ve got each other soaked, covered in foam, running for their lives! :o

[snapshots from our Family Brazilian Feijoada, recipe & instructions below]

Simple, healthy fun. A fantastic time with family and close friends. Learning about the Carnaval Paceño. Dancing. Remembering the old days of high school cheerleading… Eating a lot [why not? It's Carnaval Weekend!]

As I’d promised earlier about making Brazilian Feijoada, here are the steps! Enjoy!

Whenever I meet someone else from Brazil, I ask them what their favorite food is. After steak (picanha), it is almost always feijoada. It’s an old bean, pork and beef recipe, brought to South America, like many foods in many places, by those intrepid, globetrotting spice traders, the Portuguese, and then enhanced, like many other foods in many other places, by African slaves and their descendants.

Feijoada Completa

1 1/2 cups dried black beans (turtle is preferred, for texture)
1/8 lb. carne seca/cesina (about the size of your flat hand)
1/8 lb. pork ribs (about 2 thick ribs)
4 strips smoked bacon, finely chopped
1 paio sausage, cut into thick slices
1/2 lb. of linguiça calabresa (Portuguese-style smoked pork sausage), cut into thick slices
1 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 bay leaves
1 orange, peeled (remove all of the white pith!)
8 cups water

The night before, soak the pork meat in cold water. In yet another bowl, soak the beans in cold water.

The next day, cook the pork meat and then drain. Refill the pot with cold water, bring to a boil again and cook until the meats are tender and beginning to fall apart. Drain well.

In a large pot or dutch oven (preferred), place the beans and 8 cups water, bay leaves, and peeled orange. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmering. Cook for 45 minutes. Add all meats, and cook for 20-30 more minutes.

In a saute pan, fry the onion and garlic on olive oil. Add about 1 cup of beans from the pan, cook briefly and mash well with the back of a spoon. Return the whole mess to the dutch oven and adjust for salt. Let simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, until beans are tender and meats are falling apart willingly. Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes.

Serve with boiled, medium-grain white rice, orange slices, farofa and (chiffonaded) collard greens (that have been quickly fried in canola oil and drained on paper towels.

 

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Posted by on February 15, 2013 in BOLIVIA, CARNAVAL, FAMILY, FOOD, foreign service

 

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Acadêmicos do Samba, de Olinda, Pernambuco

It’s official: Brazilian Carnival is over. Done. Finished. Has come and gone…

The crude reality is knocking on everyone’s doors – tomorrow is Monday! A true and full working day… [snif, snif] The first real working/school day in a long time (at least, in a week, at some places!)

The year has officially began (as any good Brazilian would know, nothing really happens in Brazil before Carnaval! :o ) Now, the only comfort left is the thought of another holiday, maybe some long weekend, a full day at the beach, or, at least, the perspective of a Sunday barbecue, with some good music and positive vibe. With this spirit, here is a bit of remembrance: a Samba Group, from our neighboring city, Olinda. Let’s all enjoy, and walk together towards “reality Monday”! :o

Acadêmicos do Samba, from Olinda, Pernambuco
Tambores de carnaval, Samba de Roda & Sambão!

Acadêmicos do Samba honoring the Escola de Samba Mangueira, with Sambão!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Português, post a day

 

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Multicultural Carnival: February 2012, Pernambuco, Brazil

Multicultural Carnival: February 2012, Pernambuco, Brazil

During one of my blog hopping ventures, found a very good site – my deepest appreciation to this great blog, for sharing such a rich description about how diverse the Carnival in Pernambuco is!

 

“Recife and Olinda are among the best cities in Brazil to experience Carnival. With the distance between them at less than one half mile, their combined Carnival is really just one distinctive party even bigger than the sum of the two. The party has an enticing contrast of tradition and imagination. Deep set traditions practiced for ages are reminiscent of the romance of Carnivals past. Yet, popular music and culture certainly reserve an equally powerful influence over the festivities. Carnival in Recife and Olinda is said to be the most beautiful, spontaneous and diverse of all the Carnivals in Brazil.

According to the Guiness Book of World Records, ever since 1995 Carnival in Recife has been home to the bloco that gathers the largest number of people in the world: Galo da Madrugada. The group began waking up the city at sunrise on the first official day of Carnival in 1978 with 75 people around a truck carrying a giant rooster. The mascot still stands the same, but by last year the celebration around it had grown to an estimated 2 million people dancing in the streets, bridges and boats to the sounds of 31 trios elétricos (moving speaker trucks with bands playing on the stages atop them). These trios elétricos warm up the party parading in Recife’s ocean front avenue between modern high rises and the beach every night of the week preceding official Carnival. Recife’s old harbor neighborhood also hosts people partying in its narrow streets where the colonial architecture makes for the perfect setting to watch the passing of music schools for various traditional rhythms every night of Carnival and during the four weekends prior to the official holiday. The party through the narrow roads up and down the hills of Olinda is on the same schedule. Those celebrating in their costumes, jumping and dancing in a multiplicity of blocos among the giant dolls and water wars literally take over the hills where tourists rent the houses of the residents who make space and some extra income. Different from the rhythms of the Samba in Rio de Janeiro and the Axe in Salvador, in Recife and Olinda, Carnival participants immerse themselves in the ecclectic sounds of Frevo (typical music of Pernambuco), Maracatu, Coco (of African origin), and Coboclinhos (of Indian origin). Manifesting the rich cultural backgrounds of Brazil, these unique rhythms originated from Africa and the indigenous cultures of Brazil. Partygoers in Recife and Olinda are notoriously tireless, as they move together in the most pleasureble chaos to the euphoric music and energy of Carnival.”

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in CARNAVAL, photography, post a day

 

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STOMP STAGE EXPERIENCE: Carnaval 2012, Brazil


Stomp (USA) during the Official Opening of Carnaval 2012, at Marco Zero, Recife, Brazil.

Date: February 17th, 2012. No heavy rain would have stopped them! :o

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Português, post a day

 

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The giant dolls parade

Venue & Date: streets of Olinda, Carnaval Monday, February 2012.

The wonderful thing about Brazil is that Rio and Salvador aren’t the only places to experience the Carnival. Smaller towns like Olinda and Recife are as imbibed with the effervescent spirit of the Carnival steeped in strong Afro-Brazilian and Indian traditions. Most tourists head to Rio, but Olinda and Recife are extremely popular among Brazilians, as well as, among tourists.

Visitors and families (like ours) headed this Carnaval Monday for an encounter with the so-called Giant Dolls, an old tradition featuring 9 feet tall wood and fabric dolls, throughout the historic cobblestone streets of Olinda. The most famous doll is the “midnight man” or “homem da meia-noite”‘ coming to life at midnight on carnival Sunday, and officially kicking off the giant dolls party.

Parading bands, under the sound of Frevo and samba, accompany the excited crowd, until it’s finishing line, where all the 50 giant dolls, resembling famous people, celebrities, politicians, meet and dance with the cheering public, for hours!

Heading to the Parade

Where it all begins: waiting for the giant dolls to come!


The Maracatu Dancers, a “former president”, a “current president”, more giant dolls and pure joy!

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Posted by on February 22, 2012 in ART, CARNAVAL, Fashion, humor

 

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2012 Street Carnival: Heads with Style

Carnival Heads: Color & Style!

Carnival head decorations, flower arrangements, head pieces, tiaras, hats, colorful hair, any excuse is a good one to come out, taking over the streets, showcasing unique designs when it comes to fun and stylish costumes…

Why not, extend the costumes to “over the head”? :o Too many different styles to choose from: conservative, modern, over-the-top… Pick your favorite, or simply enjoy the endless creativity displayed during the most democratic carnival in the world!

…and of course, as part of this list, our “own” head decoration: when it comes to having fun during carnival, this couple here likes to dare: every day, a different outfit, a different piece of art decorating our heads! :o

"Married Couple", first night of Carnival

Second day of Carnival: Blue Happiness with Galo da Madrugada

 
 

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Scientific investigation during Carnaval 2012…

All for Science… good investigation! I for one, just watching and taking notes of the results!

The Materials & Methods

The Conclusion: [science can definitely be fun!]

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in CARNAVAL, photography, post a day, science

 

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Having too much fun with Galo da Madrugada! [Camarote Globeleza]

g-sheina-sherry-matthew-sandelands


Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem / AE)  Chuva não foi problema para brincar o Galo da Madrugada (Foto: Heudes Régis / JC Imagem )

 
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Posted by on February 19, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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“Summer Britto” 2012: Galo da Madrugada with art!

“Summer Britto”. Romero Britto is one of the most successful artists of our time. This pop artist uses vibrant colors and bold patterns as a visual language of HOPE and happiness. He has been credited with the largest public art installation in Hyde Park history, and exhibited at the Carrousel du Louvre Museum – an art that appeals to all. what about carnival? The designed outfits for camarote globeleza, as well as tote bags and decoration… All in one place, all during Galo da Madrugada!
É esse o tema do camarote mais disputado do Galo da Madrugada, o Globeleza 2012, na esquina da Dantas Barreto com a Guararapes, na Praça da Independência (Pracinha do Diário). E como o próprio nome diz, é o artista plástico pernambucano, radicado em Miami, Romero Britto, quem inspira e assina toda a identidade visual do espaço, do layout da camisa, com estampa de um Galo, às bolsas do kit-convite, passando por suas típicas ilustrações coloridas e desenhadas exclusivamente a decoração, que terá concepção de Romildo Alves.

E aqui, os “pequenos Globais”… já prontos para a sua festa!

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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in ART, BRASIL, CARNAVAL, Fashion, post a day

 

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Getting ready for Carnaval! {or Esquentando os Tamborins Part II}

So, here we are, a week before the largest celebration this country is capable of displaying: Carnival or, how we say it Brazil, “Carnaval”… Well, not a week from today, but from last Saturday, February 11th, when these pictures were taken from our veranda… People really can’t wait for the real fun to be here…

streets taken by the crowd

The parade moves on, enchanting tourists and beach-goers!

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2012 in CARNAVAL, Fashion, Português, post a day

 

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“Twenty Days to Carnaval”, says the beer can!

That’s right! And who says that is a beer can… What?! 

Wait… it’s a bit more than a gigantic beer can on the side of the road… it’s a traffic engineering device… hiding not one, but two traffic-monitoring camera… very clever! :o

A very “shy” pair of cameras silently watch and monitor the street traffic…

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in CARNAVAL, humor, I SPY, photography, post a day

 

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Will there be life after ‘Carnaval’?

So, here we are!

the popular choice: bright colors & lots of fun!

We’re another foreign service family, posted in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil, a place showcasing a magical mix between the Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish and native Indian cultures. Attractive for its scenery with ocean islands, rivers and bridges, we’re in the middle of a cultural diversity, a place full of history and captivating for its touristic attractions. Somehow, this month I found myself (a working-around-the-clock mom of 3 kids under 6 years old) with enough energy to go out, buy party costumes for the kids’ school carnival festivities, and search for a cute clown outfit for my 3 month old baby. All happening during my scavenge hunts along the neighborhood streets! March has arrived, and we’ve lively experienced the largest street carnival our five pair of eyes have ever witnessed: the so-called Galo da Madrugada (“Rooster of the Dawn”) and the exuberant colors on the streets of Olinda!

This massive parade – The Galo – happens every carnival Saturday, in downtown Recife, capital of Pernambuco. Its creator’s, Mr Enéias Freire came up with the original idea for a street party around the late 70s; and since then, it has never stopped, nor decreased in size!

The Guinness Book of World Records assigns the Galo da Madrugada as the biggest carnival parade in the world, considering the number of participants. This year (2011), my husband and I were invited to watch the official opening (Friday evening), with governmental authorities, as well as the popular parade (Saturday) from the Mayor’s Official Box (“camarote”). At the “camarote”, besides watching the magnificent parade, it was possible to get your make up professionally done, or, if wanted, a relaxing massage while waiting for the brunch buffet!

Observing my American husband’s reactions to the spectacle, it seemed like he’d been blown away by the magnitude of the event, the sheer number of people, the music, the dancing, the party atmosphere… It was simply wonderful just standing up there and looking over the whole thing: the look on people’s painted faces, their smiles, their tears of joy and pride. Indescribable beauty – the number of participants is said to have been over 1,600,000 people!

one of Brazil’s all-time singers, Fafá de Belém, honoring the official ceremony on Friday; special guest for the Galo da Madrugada parade.

 

The Costumes

Yes! Here, you can definitely find and buy anything on the streets; the world is for sale: lots of little “bancas” (street shops) sell everything imaginable, from hula skirts to cowboy hats. From pirate family costumes to Samba Schools full gear. Outfits and suggestions for a 9-week-old baby, to bright appliqué dresses to a ninety year old! You name it, and, if not found right on the spot, believe me, somebody would surely recommend a professional who could tailor it down for you – all before the very first scream from the “Rooster of the Dawn” street parade! Vampires, fairies, columbines, members of the “The Justice League”, kids’ cartoons’ characters, former and current “Country presidents” and “government representatives”… all in one place.

 

Every single possible costume could be found among the party goers. Under one nation – the Brazilian Popular Street Carnival, partying rules are always respected, and everyone enjoys the festivities in peace. Joy surrounds the neighborhoods.

Colors are mixed with the majestic sounds of the African atabaques, the bangôs, guitars, drums, tubas. Cold beverages are sold throughout the path, specifically designed and isolated for the street party. Celebrities from Brazilian television and from the big screen are also present, blowing kisses, to a delirious crowd of frenetic fans.Painted faces, bright from the dripping sweat, reflect the sun light.

The heat does not prevent the people from dancing while following one of the 26 different fully decorated floats on the streets of Recife – this is the first and only “Galo da Madrugada”, a genuine representation of democracy, popular choice and why not say, the pure desire to just be happy, for 4 straight days..

Traditition

Festivities here start around December, just after Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations – as locals begin preparing for the official Carnival, which starts a week (or two, depending where you’re living) before Ash Wednesday. The pre-Carnaval parties usually consist of percussion groups practicing in local clubs, city streets and squares, and even Carnival ball masques. People begin working on the “giant dolls” who will be displayed and gain life during the main parade. The “giant dolls” walk, move their bodies and dance to the contagious sounds of frevo.

There are various rhythms: from native Indian and African Maracatu beats to Frevo and Samba. Carnival officially starts with the Galo da Madrugada, with endless parties in downtown Recife, attracting altogether as many as a million praters and observers, life myself.

There is a queen and there’s a king for Carnaval. They’re both elected by popular choice, during the several “balls”, which precede the Carnaval week. And, to “their countrymen’s honor and glory”, the “royal pair” makes its unique appearance during the main parade. Their exclusive float brings glamour and pride to their “loyal people”, and, why not say, to every other plebe representative, which is watching, mesmerized and enchanted.

manually operated “giant dolls” are brought to life

And, talk about Olinda, with its spectacular scene! Olinda (neighboring city, 15 minutes from Recife) is responsible for many of the pre-Carnaval festivities. Some, actually starting as early as the second week of January! They’re called prévias because they precede Carnival. Extremely vibrant and festive events, offering a sense of the real thing. My family was able to enjoy an array of shows and parades, with many of the city’s best Carnival groups, before and after the “official Carnaval”!

one of the many beautiful & bright streets of Olinda

 

Back to real life, after Carnaval…

Hummm… Ash Wednesday arrived. Officially, Carnaval is over, right? Not here! People just can’t stop partying, and dancing, and singing… Life is more colorful during Carnaval. Life has a different meaning, during Carnaval. For many, the obligation to head back to work and/or school on Wednesday brought a bitter taste to their mouths…. “Is there any way to skip reality and dive back into the glorious sea of people that came to life during the 4 days of Carnaval?” or “How will we survive when all the Aftermath celebrations are finally over?” many ask… Yes, there’s still a trace of comfort for those who are having a hard time facing reality: the weekend has arrived, and with it, the gorgeous sun rays over the Atlantic ocean, right there, by the Avenida Boa Viagem… There’s still hope – let’s enjoy the weekend at the beach, and very patiently, await for next year’s celebration. I, for one, am already thinking about my costume for the 2012 Carnaval… What about you?

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