By Daniel Shafto
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Additional resources for Carnival (Holidays and Celebrations)
During three consecutive Sundays, floats pass along the Promenade du Soleil (Sun Promenade), decorated with oranges, limes, lemons, and any other kind of citrus fruit imaginable. Following a different theme each year, the fruit is carefully arranged into figures ranging from characters in Alice in Wonderland to a giant Buddha. One year a representation of even the Taj Mahal was made out of fruit. Every year the city invites a different country to visit and features that country’s music and culture as part of the celebrations.
This new blend of holidays and traditions developed mainly in the cities of coastal Brazil from Recife to Rio de Janeiro. From Mudfights to Samba Music The Brazilian Carnaval probably began sometime in the 18th century as an imported form of the Portuguese entrudo celebration. In this festival, people would take to the streets and engage in a glorified water fight. While it may sound harmless, it often became messy and dangerous. Combatants would add limes, limejuice, flour, and dirt, engaging in a wet food fight with a little mud thrown in.
In addition to enjoying the event itself, tourists from the Northern Hemisphere looking to escape winter cold can bask in the Brazilian summer. Many Rio residents who are not practicing members of a samba school can neither afford nor obtain tickets to the Sambadrome, so they focus on celebrating Carnaval on the streets and beaches of Rio. Parades and dance contests are held all around the elaborately decorated city, and long processions of dancers crowd the streets as well as the two popular beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.