Brazil closed for carnival

Sport Business News

With the world famous Brazilian Carnival coming up and closing down the country for a week or so, it's an opportune time to go behind the scenes of this party phenomenon, as well as other cultural festivals spread over the country, writes Joost de Jong from Revista Brasil.

Fechado–closedDon't expect any business negotiations to take in mid–February 2010 when Brazil closes for the annual carnival. Everywhere you'll see the sign 'fechado', meaning closed. The 2010 Carnival officially begins on Saturday 13 February, although most people start partying a few days before that in celebrations that last over a week, particularly in coastal areas, ending on Ash Wednesday (17 February 2010). From business executives to streetworkers, politicians to football players, the rich and poor gather together to celebrate this yearly event, which takes place at the peak time of the Brazilian summer. Sales of beer during the event account for 80% of annual consumption in Brazil and 70% of the country's annual visitors arrive for the Carnival alone. For the 2010 event, the government will hand out hand out 55m condoms as part of an AIDS awareness drive. Big party, big businessCarnival time attracts a large number of revellers. In Rio de Janeiro, often said to be the capital of the Carnival, over 2. 5m people gather in the streets, many being visitors. Hotel occupancy in the Marvellous City reaches 98% capacity at that time. LIESA, the association of Rio samba schools which organises the Carnival, receives EUR30m in sponsorship deals. The main sponsors, or patrocinadores, of the Carnival are the large beer brands, mobile phone companies, banks, supermarkets and personal hygiene and lifestyle brands. For example, for the 2010 event, Antarctica beer paid a EUR1m to be Rio's official street beer. In return for signage and pouring rights, Antarctica has also donated 4, 000 chemical toilets, in a way to help with the recycling of its own beer!Leading Brazilian–broadcaster TV Globo offers over 35 hours of television coverage of the street parties and the samba school competition in the Sambodromo, Rio's purpose–built 30, 000 capacity Carnival stadium in the heart of the city. Carnival in Salvador, probably even better"Brazil is an African country and Bahia is the heart of it", many Brazilians say. Bahia state capital Salvador is the place where the Portuguese and my own Dutch ancestors brought in West–African slaves about some 400 years ago. During Carnival in Salvador, many influences of African roots sound through the rhythm of drums, beats and dancing in the streets of the Pelourinho neighbourhood, the beating heart of the city. For 2010, according to the local tourist board Saltur, 500, 000 visitors are expected in the city, a 20% increase on 2009 numbers. The Salvador government has signed up EUR4. 5m of sponsorship deals for the 2010 event. Itaú (bank), Nova Schin (beer), Petrobras (oil) and the Bahia government are the main sponsors, each contributing about EUR1m. Korean multinational giant Samsung will also make its debut at the 2010 Salvador Carnival, contributing EUR350, 000. Signage and pouring rights cover a 25km street partying area. Camarote–the VIP areaAway from the masses in the streets, the sponsors open so called 'camarote' areas, where camarote ticket holders, special VIP guests or hospitality invitees can watch the parades and shows by nationwide famous musical groups or artists such as Timbalada, Banda Eva, Ivete Sangalo, Banana com Chiclete, Daniela Mercury, Claudia Leite as well as locally known heroes. Most of the brands extend their Carnival sponsorships to the bands and artists (to raise awareness further. Not only CarnivalApart from the Carnival, many cities or regions celebrate their own historical festivals, most of which have their origins in religious roots. The most popular ones are as follows:Carnatal, Natal (Rio Grande do Norte) North–eastern Natal is one of the few Brazilian places without a real February Carnival. Instead, the so–called City of Sun saves its energy for its own four–day event, held during the first week of December each year. This event features singing and dancing in the streets, behind the trios electricos, the huge trucks on which bands are playing, combined with special shows on the beaches by Brazil's most famous acts. Fortal, Fortaleza (Ceará)Just like Natal, Ceará state capital Fortaleza has its own Carnival. Usually held in the last week of July, over 500, 000 people celebrate behind the trios in the streets. Festival Folcloríco, Parentins (Amazonas)One of the best, if not the best folklore–based celebrations in Brazil, this event is held during the last weekend in June. Often called Festival do Boi–Bumbá or simply Festival, it celebrates a local legend about a resurrected ox. In the special 35, 000 capacity stadium, the Bumbãdromo, two teams, Garantido and Caprichoso, compete in retellings of the story, each team attempting to out–do the other with dances, singing, and parades. No–one in Parentins ever speaks the name of the opposing ox, they just say 'the other'. During the Festival, Parentins is the only place in the world where Coca Cola advertising appears in blue. Oktoberfest, Blumenau (Santa Catarina)This involves 18 days of partying, every year from 10–27 October, in the most German city in Brazil, founded in 1880 by German Hermann Otto Blumenau. Inspired by the Oktoberfest in Munich, original lederhosen are required!São João, North–east of BrazilFestas Juninas, or June Parties, are celebrated intensely everywhere in the North–eastern states of Brazil during the month of June, in commemoration of the holy São João (24 June). People gather in the streets, dancing quadrilha dances in colourful uniforms and lighting traditional fireworks. Famous bands travel across the states from city to city to play in front of huge crowds. São João celebrations are best in the interior cities, in combination with local events such as rodeos and vaquejadas (cowboys trying to catch oxes). Campina Grande, the second biggest city in the state of Paraíba, is known for having 'the best São João in the world'. In June, this city of approximately 370, 000 inhabitants makes up for normally having no night life to speak of. Over 1. 5m visitors come to Campina Grande in June each year, to enjoy local dances, shows and fireworks. About the writerJoost de Jong writes on Brazil, business and sports. He spends his time between The Netherlands and Brazil and has also lived in Spain. He has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines, including Algemeen Dagblad, Sport & Strategie, Sport International, Voetbal International and De Zaak (the Netherlands), de Morgen (Belgium), Diário de Natal (Brazil) and Metro International. He is also editor in chief of the coaching magazine NLCoach.

Additional information