Culture Design
Colours of Rio Carnival
August 11, 2016
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Rio Carnival Egyptian float

I was hoping this year would signal my return to Brazil. It’s been far too long since my first Rio Carnival experience and I would like to go back and party like only Brazilians know how – with music, colour and drama, that doesn’t stop for a tropical deluge or two. I’d like to sip from coconuts on Copacabana, take the gondola to Sugarloaf’s peak and samba in the streets. Unfortunately, this time around it wasn’t meant to be, so until the opportunity arises again I’m going to make a Caipirinha, put on some background bossa nova and pretend I’m there right now soaking in the vibrancy of Rio’s Carnival.

Carnival takes place over the four days before Lent. Each night sees a series of samba schools parade down the purpose built Sambadrome in competition. Each school composes their own soundtrack, a song that is played on loop for the 80mins they are given to move down the runway. Afro-Brazilian samba music has been the musical style of choice since the early 1900’s. Each samba school’s performance is themed, with all of the floats and costumes weaving their part of the tale. The costumes and floats are extremely detailed ensuring those as close as the front row and as far as the nose bleed section, can marvel at the spectacle. Also amazing, is what can be achieved on a rather tentative looking moving platform. Many of the floats have moving parts and special effects, like the flowing fountain, and the giant tortoise with a moving head below. The parade sambas to a close in Apotheosis Square, with its iconic arches – Marquês de Sapucaí – designed by Brasilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. Here’s a little taste…

Colours of Rio Carnival | Duende by Madam ZoZo
Rio Carnival costume details
Rio Carnival - Africa float
Rio Carnival Float
Rio movie themed float
Rio Carnival Copacabana float
My favourite float, because it sums up my entire Rio experience
Copacabana float
Rio Carnival - Cinema themed float
Rio Carnival - Cabaret float
Rio carnival jester float
Apotheosis Square

Get more delicious design inspo from Rio de Janeiro in Walk the Rio Sidewalks. If you love colour like I do, see other colourful destinations in the “Colours of” series including Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Cuba.

Peace, love and inspiring travel,

Madam ZoZo

Colours of Rio Carnival | Duende by Madam ZoZo

About author

Madam ZoZo

Hi! I'm Madam ZoZo, aka Zoë, an Australian designer, creative consultant, blogger and digital nomad. I'm passionate about travel, design, dance and new experiences that fuel my creativity. I strive to travel in a style that is gentle on the earth and that contributes to the communities I visits, even if it is merely to take away a greater understanding of a different culture. Duende by Madam ZoZo, is where I share the stories of my travels and the duende (soul/inspiration) I find along the way.

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