The Spirit of Carnaval in Recife

Erik

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Two weeks ago, I set out to travel to four cities in the Northeast of Brazil.  Recife was the second stop.

Recife is famous for its Carnaval celebrations, which are the most culturally rich in Brazil.  Although we weren’t there during the Carnaval season, I still felt the open, festive spirit that I’ve been told fills the streets at that time of year.

Carnaval Getup

Carnaval Getup

Mike and I stayed at the best hostel I’ve ever been to, Piratas da Praia.  What set it apart was the feeling that the guests and staff members all wanted to spend time together.  For the first time, I felt like I made friends in a hostel that I could visit in the future – that is, if I ever make it to Florianopolis or Lyons.

During the evenings, Mike and I went out with our fellow ETAs Whitney and Alicia to the historic part of town.  We would sit with a collection of new friends at outdoor bars on Rua das Moedas, which had music from samba to reggae to blues.  On our last night, we even stumbled across a free salsa concert with a dance floor set up on top of the cobblestone square.

Last of all, I did get to see some of the proper traditions of Carnaval in Recife.  Carnaval parades there include giant puppets that are manned by at least several puppeteers.  Whitney joined me for a visit to the museum that houses these puppets, where we made the acquaintance of Pelé, Carmen Miranda, and Dilma Rousseff, among others.

Giant Puppets

Giant Puppets

We also visited the Frevo Museum, which turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.  Frevo sounds a little like an out-of-control marching band – brass instruments and drums cranking out tunes at a fast clip.  The dancing is the perfect fit for the music in that it is big and athletic, and comes from the Brazilian martial art capoeira.   After a private tour of the Frevo Museum, Whitney and I got a dance lesson that left us of out of breath.

Frevo Lesson

Frevo Lesson