carnival in rio is considered to be one of the grandest mardi gras celebrations in the world. although we couldn’t fly the whole kijaro team to brazil this year, we did the next best thing and talked to a local krewe member who is familiar with carnival and its festivities. fun fact: in mardi gras speak: “krewe” refers to the group(s) behind the floats on parade during mardi gras.
for the past 22 years, fayetteville, arkansas has organized a local mardi gras celebration on dickson street for the residents of the area. the celebration has continued to grow with the support of the enthusiastic organizers and krewe members that compete in the parade each year, including fatima pollard, the lead organizer for krewe carnaval do brazil. she was more than happy to share with us how her krewe brings a little international flair back to the community every year.
she starts off by telling us a little bit about carnival (the equivalent of mardi gras in the southern hemisphere). “in rio, preparing for carnival is a year-round event filled with bright costumes, sophisticated floats, and choreographed dances.” one of her biggest challenges last year was preparing and handcrafting all the costumes and head pieces for the event. “i underestimated how long it would take to prepare everything, but it was worth it,” says fatima.
the photos above show off some of the costumes worn by the female and male participants of krewe carnival do brazil. fatima is pictured on the far right in the yellow/red costume. in contrast to what you’ll find at an american mardi gras celebration [fun fact: the official colors of mardi gras is purple, green and gold, which represent justice, faith and power] carnival, does not limit itself to certain colors. in fact, participants in rio strive to put their brightest and boldest colors on display in order to stand out in the crowd, which is why it is so important for fatima’s krewe to have authentic and colorful costumes.
we asked fatima what her fondest aspect of carnival is and she replied that it is the competitive atmosphere of the ”samba schools,” which are clubs from various schools within the city. in brazil, most of carnival is supported by the students of the city’s samba schools that gather to compete among themselves for best of show. each school prepares months on end for the lavish parades. the high energy and showmanship of the samba school really defines what is truly great about carnival. “the local [fayetteville] parade is on a much smaller scale than carnival, but we bring character and energy to the crowd and that’s what it’s all about, ” says fatima.
whether you’re in new orleans enjoying the outlandish costumes and decadent food, or dancing along to the booming drums and samba music in rio, the common theme seems to be letting go of your inhibitions and celebrating life!
if you’re in the northwest arkansas area, this year’s fat saturday parade of fools parade is open to the public, beginning at 2pm on february 9th, 2013. the parade will start at the fayetteville square and end on dickson street. who knows; you may just catch some kijaro products mingling with the crowd.
we look forward to hearing more about your mardi gras celebrations. find us on facebook.
(all photos courtesy of friends of krewe carnaval do brazil)