On Friday, Feb.18, students gathered at Rexburg Life to participate in a Carnival celebration. With balloons, lights, music, glow sticks and face painting, the Brazilian culture was illuminated.
“It was so much fun,” said Ana Marchi Mazallo, a junior studying marketing. “Just having the Brazilian community all together. It felt like home.”
Carnival is a Caribbean holiday that stems from the Catholic religion’s Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, is the event that takes place before the 40 day fasting of Lent. During Lent, most people fast from meat. However, the believer can fast from anything in order to grow closer to Christ. Mardi Gras is meant to be the party that ends sin and begins dedication to God.
The first Mardi Gras in America was held in Mobile, Alabama. Today, New Orleans is the Mardi Gras hub. Louisiana and many other southern states celebrate with parades, contests and shows. Throwing beads, toilet paper rolls, candy, shirts and stuffed animals are just a few things that can be collected in a family-friendly Mardi Gras parade.
Carnival is celebrated in many of the same ways in Latin countries. Parades are just the beginning with large, decorated floats and other attractions. Escola de samba, or School of Samba, is a well-known competition that happens every year in São Paulo, Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. During this competition, samba schools dance, sing, drum and march through a .35 mile long stage. These shows are some of BYU-I Brazilian students’ favorite things about the five-day festival.
“Carnival is a really promiscuous party,” said Arã Cantanhede Araújo, a freshman studying software engineering. “So usually we would have FSY or youth conference during those five days to take the kids out of the city.”