So, I was at work the other day when I overheard some rumors that we would be closed this week until Thursday. Beings that I am new and not entirely oriented yet, I was like, "Come again? 5 day weekend?? POR QUE???" Turns out, it's Carnival in Brazil, and that is a national holiday (or 3 workdays off!). And, to boot, my family is here visiting, so we get to spend even more time together!
The most famous Brazilian Carnival celebration is, of course, at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro where the city's famous samba schools battle it out in a parading battle royale of glitter and feathers to determine whose samba program will reign supreme. In Recife things are a little different. The "Chicken of the Dawn" is the symbol of Carnival in this part of the country, and people gather in huge crowds (think millions...World Record style) to watch parades, see dancers and enjoy concerts at one of the many venues around the cities. In the evenings drum groups dance down the streets, and revelry continues all through the night until Ash Wednesday when Lent starts and people go without. Everyone needs a party before a long period of deprivation, right??
So, being the good hosts that we are, we did our research and found a party that would be appropriate for both a baby and for our guests. Eric found a great place in the Boa Vista neighborhood, inside a market that had everything we were looking for!
We started the day off on the beach with a quick walk. The pediatrician has prescribed Eric and Kylie 30 minutes in the sun every morning around 6:00 am. Who are we to argue with a doctor??
The water and the sand. It's like a mirror!
Kylie enjoying her walk, looking forward to Carnival festivities too, I'm sure!
The symbols of the State of Pernambuco's regional dance, Frevo.
A giant Frevo dancer sign.
It's even been named Unesco Patrimony of Humanity! What, haven't we heard of Patrimony of Humanity before???
There it is, the Chicken of the Dawn, in all of its gigantic glory.
After the Chicken, we made our way through some (sketchy) abandoned streets and finally found the Carnival event we had been looking for! Hidden behind the walls of O Mercado de Boa Vista was a frenetic and fun, family-friendly celebration. When we walked in the King and Queren of Recife's Carnival were making their rounds, and they stopped to oogle the baby!! We did not realize they were actual royalty (hey, there are lots of people in costume around town! When I saw a guy dressed as Fred Flintstone, I didn't think he was actually Fred Flintstone either!!), and so we did not get a picture. Boo! Here we have a procession of Frevo dancers, dancing around and around the market.
Ron took this amazing picture of a samba dancer making her way around the market. The joy on her face really captures the moment. It was such a happy place!
Brazilians love babies, so when we were spotted with Kylie, we were immediately given a table in the middle of the party. Yes! Lunchtime for the babes!
Kylie makes friends everywhere she goes! This guy deemed her a true "Pernambucana." She loved the party, and spent the whole time smiling, giggling and flapping her arms to the beat.
After Kylie got her lunch, we got to have ours! Dried beef, fried "onionized" cheese (queijo cebolhado), some cold snacks and 2 delicious pasteis, which are kind of like Brazilian empanadas. All with a side of "stupidly cold" beer. Delish!
Ladies of Carnival in our masks. Eric even haggled us a "jeitinho" (favor) to get the masks on the cheap! Everyone say "Queijo"!!
The street in Boa Vista, decorated for Carnival!