With less than two months to go until the official start of Rio Carnival 2011, the city has already slipped into party mode, with hundreds of blocos (street parties) set to take place across the city between now and the start of the world’s biggest party.
Rio de Janeiro’s carnival blocos have become as much a part of the festivities as the official parades at the Sambodromo, and the best news is that it is usually totally free to attend.
Each of the city’s neighborhoods has its own bloco (in fact, some have more than one) which involves local samba talent putting together a carnival anthem which is then practiced, practiced and practiced again until it is hopefully perfected by the time carnival itself kicks off.
Some of the most famous blocos, such as Monobloco, who perform at Ipanema and Copacabana, attract hundreds of thousands of revellers, while other popular blocos to look out for are Cordao do Bola Preta, based in Centro, and Santa Teresa’s Carmelitas. The next few weeks will see the blocos perfecting this year’s anthems, and in the weeks leading up to Carnival they will hit the streets, in the company of jubilant revelers. Fancy dress is an integral part of the bloco fun, and some have a non-mandatory dress code, such as black and white spots for Cordao do Bola Preta; and nun’s habits for Carmelitas.
This year, a staggering 450 blocos are officially taking part in the carnival fun, which means that there will be party action taking place across every corner of the city.
With rehearsals starting this weekend, street corners from Leblon to Santa Teresa will be alive with the sound of Samba, so grab yourself a caipirinha and join in the madness.