The Biggest Party in the World

“Gonna be in NYC next week. If my liver makes it through Mardi Gras, let’s hit the bars when I’m in town. Drinks on you, of course.”

This was the text from my college roommate that I woke up to this morning. It was no surprise to me that my buddy, being the borderline-alcoholic party animal that he is, wanted to go out when he was in town. And it certainty was no surprise that he is headed to Mardi Gras. In fact, he and I both went last year and had a blast. What did surprise me however was that it was already Carnival Season. It seemed like just a few months had passed since we got back from our four-day stretch of pure drunken debauchery. Nonetheless, if it’s time for New Orleans to host Mardi Gras than it is time for Brazil to host Carnaval. That’s right, not a particular city in Brazil, the entire country. Think Mardi Gras on steroids. In fact, numerous countries throughout the world celebrate this Christian-rooted period of festivities.

Fun fact: The term “Carnival” (spelled “Carnaval” in Brazil) was actually coined in Italy back in the thirteenth century. Catholics are prohibited from eating meat on Friday’s during Lent, so Italian peasants combined with word for meat – “carne” – with the word for farewell – “vale”. Hundreds of years later, the name represents the most outrageous celebration one is likely to come across.

In the spirit of Carnaval, below are a few of my favorite pictures from past RioCarnival celebrations. I hope this whets your appetite and encourages you to one day experience it firsthand.