Rio de Janeiro during Carnival Week is Times Square on New Year's Eve, New
Orleans during Mardi Gras, Market Street in San Francisco the night World War II
ended. It's Columbus, Ohio, on a fall Saturday night after Ohio State beats Michigan,
the Place de la Republique in Paris on Bastille Day, Harlem on the night Joe Louis
knocked out Max Schmeling.
To Rio de Janeiro's Cariocas and other Brazilians, though, carnaval is much more
than all these wrapped up into a great explosive hydrogen bomb of gaiety, packed
with confetti and tied with colored streamers. It is two million people going mad, with
sound track, dancing the samba along miles of mosaic streets and beach-lined
avenues for four nights and three days, getting high on the beat of African drums and
the screech of Indian whistles, on the peculiar mixture of perfume and ether they
squirt from metal bottles at each other, just for the sheer fun of having fun.
It is two million sets of repressions and inhibitions going bang at the same time in an
annual explosion which has its roots in pagan rites to the gods of fertility, in the
licentious festivals of Hohlee in ancient India, the Saturnalian orgies of pre-Christian
Rome, and the voodoo rituals of the Congo. Carnival is the slaves of old Brazil
celebrating their liberation in 1888, and the pious Romans saying "Flesh, farewell!"
"Carne, vale!" in their medieval Latin, as they strengthen themselves for the days of
their Lenten Fast. It is, in any case, one hell of a party.
To the lucky visitor to Rio, it expresses
one of the primary objectives of all pleasure
Listening to Russ Garcia's music, you'll join hands with
the Cariocas and the visitors