Stepping out of Brasilia: A quick return to Recife, Pernambuco


One of the advantages of being placed right in the middle of the country is the ability to [easily] travel around. another family trip, now, to a previous foreign service posting [2010-2012], the city of Recife, capital of the Northeastern state of Pernambuco.

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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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