The Carnival 1 is a big deal for Brazilians. Hundreds of ‘samba schools’ 2 participate in the parade, and each school has thousands of participants (musicians, dancers, singers, god mother, old aunts, etc.). Every year, each school comes out with a ‘samba plot’, theme, songs, costumes, etc. They introduce their plot, and start practice almost six months before the parade.

One of Onuwa’s colleagues, Creso, who has ties to the Tom Maior Samba School, graciously invited us to its opening night.

We did not know what to expect…maybe people getting their Samba on, and just boogie-ing all night. It turned out to be an elaborate introduction of the theme, the music, the costumes, the flag bearers, the old aunts, the god mother, the sponsors, etc. with significant pomp and pageantry to go along with it.

Don’t quote me on this, but carnival happens before Lent 3, and part of the concept is to get your misdeeds done before clamping down and repenting. Sort of like some religious Indians voraciously consuming meat up until 12 am, before they start a day of vegetarian piety;) This is why most Samba school themes tend to have sexual connotations.

Our hosts (Creso, his wife Elayne, his siblings, and their spouses) were extremely accommodating, and patiently explained things to us. Elayne would not allow language to be a barrier, and employed Google translate. Brazilians have a way of making you love their country.

Needless to say, a good time was had by all.

As a bonus, we spotted a mini celebrity (did not catch her name), who apparently had 30+ surgeries done so far.