The exciting Salvador Carnival celebrations will be taking place once again next February from Thursday the 7th to Wednesday the 13th 2013, and the Carnival itself will be held on Tuesday the 12th of February. A tradition for some 50 years in Brazil now, Salvador Carnival boasts the world’s largest street festival according to the Guinness Book of World Records with as many as 2 million festival-goers making their way to this exciting Brazilian city every year to join in the festival celebrations. The party kicks off on Thursday with the election of Rei Momo, the King of the Carnival, and concludes the following week on the morning of Ash Wednesday.
Salvador Carnival History
Salvador Carnival began in 1950 when two music students, Dodo and Osmar, took an old banger and converted it into what is now called a “Trio Elétrico”. It comprises a done up semi-trailer with space at the back for sound equipment and a band to perform. They however, used an old 1929 Ford then took to the streets of Salvador on their quirky invention playing their own axé music creations consisting of typical Bahian beats. They called themselves the “Dupla Elétrica” (Electric Duo) based on the electrified string instruments they played, and following a further addition to the group, changed their name to the “Trio Elétrico” (Electric Trio).Then came the Salvador Carnival which adopted this concept of performing atop a moving vehicle. Today, the Salvador Carnival features Trios Elétricos comprising huge trucks equipped with the latest sound and audio equipment.
About Salvador Carnival
The Salvador Carnival in Bahia is unlike any other. It consists of “Blocos de Carnaval” (Carnival Blocks) which basically comprise crowds which have gathered around a Trio Elétrico where the singer or band is performing. The Trios Elétricos follow predetermined routes which are called the Carnival Circuits. To form part of the Carnival Block festival-goers must buy an “abadá” consisting of a t-shirt bearing a design identifying that person as a member. It entitles them to access the area sectioned off by a rope around the Trio Elétrico.
Salvador Carnival Circuits
The Trios Elétricos complete 3 routes (Carnival Circuits) including the Batatinha Circuit which runs through the old city, Pelourinho, and comprises a more traditional carnival with small bands, the Barra-Ondina Circuit or Dodô Circuit, which runs from the Barra neighbourhood to the Ondina neighbourhood, along the Atlantic Ocean, and finally the more traditional circuit called the Campo Grande Circuit or Osmar Circuit. It runs from Praça do Campo Grande to the historic Praça Castro Alves.
Salvador Carnival Blocks
There are around 30 blocks in Salvador Carnival distinguished via their different style and groups. Day passes, as well as festival passes (corresponding abadás) are available.
Alternatively, a combination of abadás for access to various blocks can be purchased. The most popular Carnival Blocks include the Camaleão, Voa-Voa, CocoBambu and the Timbalada. Prices range from R$ 150.00 to R$ 840.00 (60 euro to 336 euro) per day.
Salvador Carnival Stands
The Carnival stands are set up along the various circuits, and feature an open-bar, free buffet, beach access, space with a DJ and electronic music, and last but not least great views of the street and passing parades. In addition, festival-goers also get the chance to receive a massage or a makeover, and get a brand new look for their abadá. The Camarote Salvador, Camarote Skol and Camarote Oceania feature amongst the best.
Similarly to the Carnival Blocks, prices vary in accordance with the abadá (for a day or festival pass) and range from R$ 120.00 to R$ 1090.00 (48 euro to 436 euro) per day.
Salvador Carnival Hours
The parades usually kick off late afternoon and last until the early hours of the morning on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, Monday and Tuesday they start around 1pm and finish in the evening. On the final day, Ash Wednesday, the celebrations begin at 6am and the Salvador Carnival celebrations officially conclude at midday with all the Trios gathering on Praça Castro Alves.
Pipocas in Salvador Carnival
Finally, “pipocas” (popcorns) refer to those festival-goers who haven’t purchased an abadá for a carnival block or stand and wander freely along the various carnival routes. For pipocas there are numerous stalls selling beer and food.
So, now you know about the huge party that is the Salvador Carnival. If you would like to go to Salvador Carnival 2013 then you can purchase an abadá on the Central do Carnaval website, or the individual Carnival Block and Carnival Stand websites themselves.