Brazilian Carnival History is richer, more varied and more interesting than most people think. There is much more to Carnival than just parties. The carnival can trace its roots back to an ancient Greek festival held each spring to honor Dionysus, the god of wine (“Brazilian Carnival in Rio”). The Romans adopted the festival to honor two of their gods, Bacchanalia and Saturnalia. During the Roman festival, slaves and masters would exchange clothes and spend the day in drunken revelry. The Catholic Church later modified the festival as a celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday (“Brazilian Carnival in Rio”). The name Carnival originates from the Italian "Carnival" festival, which means "to remove meat" which was a tradition of dressing up in costumes and celebrate before the first day of Lent, ("The History of Carnival in Brazil"). Since Catholics are not supposed to eat meat during Lent the festival adopted that appropriate name. The carnival in Italy became quite famous and spread to France, Spain and other Catholic countries in Europe and part of that seems to have been brought back to Brazil during the Portuguese colonization of the country ("The History of Carnival in Brazil"). Carnival was also brought to Rio by the French, but it wasn't until 1850 ("The History of Carnival in Brazil"). Carnival blends African and native cultures in with the Catholic celebration before Lent. Brazilian carnival isn't just one style. Part of the Brazilian Carnival history is that each area of Brazil has its own distinctive style. There are now 4 major styles. The style most commonly associated with Carnival is the Rio de Janeiro type (“Brazilian Carnival in Rio”). This style has the samba schools and big parades done by the schools. There are over 100 block parades that take place in Rio during Carnival. The "School of Samba", isn't really a school, but a large gathering of dancers and musicians who become the teams that parade in the "Schools of Samba Competition”...
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