Category Archives: CARNAVAL



From a very talented blogger, currently experiencing motherhood and expat life in Brazil, and a friend, Tessa Wegener. A great and enjoyable read!

Wegener's Wanderlust

Samba! Feathers! Glitter! Streamers! Confetti! — Carnaval has officially begun in Brazil!

A little bit of history

Did you know that the word carnaval is believed to have evolved from the Latin phrase carnem levare which means “to remove meat”? Carnaval, like Mardi Gras in the U.S. or Karneval in Germany, is a pre-Lenten celebration that ends on Ash Wednesday and has its roots in European Catholicism (or in earlier pagan traditions, depending on your source!).

Carnaval in Brazil is a transcultural phenomenon and its history is inextricably linked to European colonialism and African slavery. The Portuguese settlers of Brazil introduced Entrudo (another name for Carnaval) during the 18th century. Initial celebrations evolved over the years and took on the form of masquerade balls, polka dances and waltzes. At this point, festivities were still clearly delineated according to social class—there were “Grandes Sociedades” for aristocrats, “Ranchos Carnavalescos” for the working-class, and “Cordões” for the…

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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! 😮

[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.



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! 😮 ) 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”! 😮

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

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


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! 😮


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”? 😮 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! 😮

"Married Couple", first night of Carnival

Second day of Carnival: Blue Happiness with Galo da Madrugada


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