Despite the fact that the origins of the Carnaval are not clear, most people agree it began as a pagan celebration in ancient Greece and Rome. In the late 18th century carnival balls were already imported to Brazil from Italy, and had their golden era was in the 1930s, with magnificent balls at the Municipal Theater and the Copacabana Palace. The origins of the modern Carnaval in Brazil can be traced back to the early 19th century, when this form of art appeared in Rio de Janeiro, resembling much the European form of a festival. In the late 19th century the cordoes, the ancestors of modern samba schools, were introduced in the country.
They consisted of people dressed in costumes according to some specific themes and celebrating the Carnaval in specific ways. During Brazil Carnaval a fat man was elected to perform the role of the King of Carnaval - Rei Momo.
While modern carnival in Brazil started in Rio de Janeiro in the 1830s, Bahia presented its four types of carnival groups in the early 1970, notably Blocos Afro, Indian groups, Trio Eletricos and Afroxes. There still exist great differences between Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro and Carnaval in Bahia. First and foremost, Carnaval in Rio is recognized as a national symbol, while that in Bahia is considered a regional event. The musical styles differ as well: in Rio there exist only one rhythm known as Samba-enredo, while Bahia boast a much larger number of such rhythms, including frevo, samba and samba-reggae.
The organized groups marching in Carnaval in Bahia are called Afoxes, in Rio these groups are known as the samba schools. Essential differences can be observed in the way people celebrate the Carnaval. In Rio de Janeiro people simply watch the samba schools march or enjoy the event on television, while in Bahia local residents participate actively in the celebration, dancing in the streets. In Rio the Carnaval has been televised since the 1980s.
Today it is broadcast to a great number of countries, as well as all Brazilian states. Despite the fact that all major Carnaval's attractions occur in major cities of Brazil, the State of Pernambuco is proud to host one of the biggest and best carnivals in the world, known for offering parties for each possible taste. And whenever you happen to hear this music: in the town square, in the hilly roads, in clubs or in the streets, your feet start dancing and jumping to the exciting rhythm of the Pernambuco Carnaval.
All the hills and streets are colorfully decorated, and the costumes are designed in the spirit of the Northeastern folklore. Maracatus and Trocas start one week before the Carnaval and end on the Sunday after the celebrations. Today as ever Olinda claims to have the best Carnaval in the world, famous for its exclusivity. Among the best-known groups are the Midnight Man, Olinda's Underpants, Crazy Lover and the Door.
Formed from completely different origins and cultures, they provide the Carnaval of the Traditions, the Carnaval of the Folklore and the History, the Carnaval of the multitude and the erudition, and undoubtedly the best Carnaval of the World.