At this time in previous years, Rio de Janeiro is ushering in the busiest day of the year-Carnival. There are passionate parades, open-air performances, and strangely dressed passers-by… For several days in a row, this South American city has been caught in the endless joy of day and night.
Two years ago, I went to watch the carnival parade. From the night to the dawn, accompanied by the ear-splitting Brazilian dance music, the Rio Samba School’s teams appeared one after the other-the hot and sexy drum queen, the innovatively designed floats, and the sing-and-dance phalanx. All show the participants’ pride and devotion to this grand event in the city. The professional judges will also score the dance school and select the champion of the year.
The Brazilian Carnival originated from traditional European festivals and incorporated African music and dance. It became its own style and became popular in the early 20th century. The first samba dance school was established in Rio in 1928. Since then, more dance schools have appeared, and the competition between dance schools has become the highlight of Rio and even the Brazilian Carnival. In 1984, the Samba Avenue designed by the famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was completed, and the Rio Carnival was a permanent landmark.
The samba dance school is rooted in the poor community, and its members are basically community residents. Winning the carnival parade champion is a high honor for the dance school and the community where the dance school is located. For this honor, dance schools often have to prepare for half a year or more, design parade themes, plots, dance music, floats, costumes, and rehearse again and again, just for the stunning appearance that night.
However, this year, because the epidemic has not dissipated, the prosperity is no longer there. The suspension of carnival activities is not only an interruption of cultural traditions, but also a huge economic loss. The Rio Carnival has been commercial since the 1960s, receiving private investment, and selling tickets for dance school parades. Now it has developed into a lucrative industry. During the carnival last year, Rio attracted about 2.1 million tourists, generated 4 billion reais (about 4.8 billion yuan) in revenue, and the hotel occupancy rate was as high as 93%. The influx of tourists brought good business, and there were vendors selling alcohol, food, accessories and clothing everywhere on the streets. The preparation for the carnival parade has created a large number of jobs, attracting a large number of composers, musicians, choreographers, visual artists, scene designers, tailors, blacksmiths, carpenters, painters, glassmakers, makeup artists, and instrument makers. By……
The carnival stopped, and relevant practitioners lost their income. Renata, 40, rents a clothing studio in northern Rio and makes parade costumes for the samba school year after year. “People think that carnival is just a carnival, but it is still a source of income.” When preparing for the carnival, Renata’s studio was crowded with dozens of tailors, designers and sewing workers. However, under the epidemic situation, she could not start work, she could only rely on donations and relief to survive.
The dance school also fell into despair. There was no more carnival parade broadcasts and ticket revenues, weekday performances and catering services had to be stopped, and employees could only be fired when they could not pay their salaries. However, in times of crisis, the dance school also actively rescues itself, solicits donations from the society, raises food, and helps members in difficulties; even uses the resources at hand to sew masks and protective clothing, and distribute them to community residents and medical institutions.
“There is no sorrow to conceal such joy/Those who did not die from the Spanish flu/Those who have escaped/Don’t worry anymore/Laugh and have fun…” People flooded the streets at Rio Carnival in 1919, Sing so loudly among the confetti, ribbons and perfume. It was Rio’s first carnival after the “Spanish Flu”. The plague brought Rio an unprecedented health crisis, and about 15,000 people died.
More than 100 years later, Rio people are waiting for the same moment to defeat the epidemic again and usher in a carnival again. “After a long epidemic, carnival will always be a good medicine.” said Marcus, who designed the parade plot for last year’s carnival champion dance school. “Once all this is over, people will reproduce the 1919 carnival, the same ecstasy. , Just as easy.”
“The next carnival will be a turning point for mankind.”