of Carnival in Bahia, Brazil
There are several versions on the origin of the word "Carnival".
In the Milanise dialect, Carnevale means "the time when the
use of meat is taken away", since Carnival is precisely the
night before Ash Wednesday. In Brazil, the event is the greatest
popular cultural manifestation besides soccer. It is a mixture
of fun, party and theater which involves art and folklore. In
its origin, it basically comes up as a street party. However,
in most capitals, it ends up restricted to closed spaces, such
as clubs and "sambódromos".
Newspapers A Tarde, Tribuna da Bahia, and Correio da Bahia.
C.C. Fantoches da Euterpe
Bahiatursas document center
African-Oriental Studies Center / Brazils Carnaval and Processions
Essays / Research #5 Oct., 1980
Excel Mania Bank Excel Econômicos internal
Bloco "Os Internacionais" s magazine Year
VII / #7
Emtursas Press Department
Bahias Carnavals History and Evolution TVEs
Musician Aroldo Macedo Osmars family
Gregório de Mattos Foundation
FCEBa Dimus / Tempostal Museum
Mr. Waldemar Sandes ABTIs President
From Entrudo to Bahias Carnaval Hildegardes Vianna
/ Writer, Folklorist, and Professor.
Pictures of Carnaval 2001
The Great 1884 Carnival
origin comes from a popular manifestation prior to the Chrstian
Age, begun in Italy, and named Saturnálias, in honor of
Saturn. BACO and MOMO, gods of Greek-Roman Mythology, shared the
honors during the festivities, which were held in November and
December. During the celebrations in Rome, an apparent breakdown
in society's hierarchy took place, since slaves, philosophers
and tribunes mingled along public squares. With the expansion
of the Roman Empire, parties became more frequent and enthusiastic.
At the time, true bacchanals took place.
At the beginning of the Christian Age, the first signs of censorship
to the mundane festivities arose, once Catholic Church became
more solid. With the intent of imposing austerity policies, the
church determined that those festivities only happen before Lent.
The Italian then adopted the word Carnaveale, suggesting that
Carnival, or "anything that occurred to their minds"
could be carried out before Lent, in a kind of flesh abuse.
The party got to Portugal in the 15th and 16th centuries, being
named "Entrudo", that is, introduction to Lent, through
an aggressive and heavy joke. The event had an essentially gastronomical
characteristic and was marked by some entertainment with some
violence. There used to be thin wax spheres with the inside filled
with perfume which were thrown in people. The more daring ones,
however, began to inject on the inside of the "little oranges
or smelly lemons", bad smelling and inadequate substances
and the party started to lose its joy. It was exactly this violent
"Entrudo" that reached Brazil's port.
In the second half of the 19th century the newspaper "Diário
da Bahia" and the Catholic Church criticized the "Entrudo"
and demanded actions from the police authorities. When the Sunday
before Lent approached, everyone "entrudated". All over
the streets one could see groups called the "Caretas",
covered with sheets, mats, leaves and "abadás"
- a kind of loose short sleeved shirt that would go as far as
the knees, which the Blacks used. On the "Entrudo" people
would soak whoever was on the streets, and houses would be broken
into for the same reason, no matter the age or health condition.
In 1853, the "Entrudo" began to be repressed with police
orders. Even thus, the "little oranges" and wooden troughs
filled with water continued to exist. It was precisely in this
period that Carnival began to be re-shaped in a different way,
divided into two classes: the Ballroom Carnival and the Street
Carnival. The first had the participation of Whites and middle-class
Mulattos, while the latter counted on Blacks and poor Mulattos.
In 1860, the "São João" Theater began
to hold dauntless mask balls on Saturday evenings, starting the
parties with passages from the Italian opera "La Traviata",
followed by waltz, polka and square dance music. Participants
were high social status people, which went to the theater, instead
of attending the balls that were held in their own houses.
At the time, there was danger in businessmen and scholars being
seen wearing masks. Therfore, costume stores and hairdressers,
such as the famous "Pinelli" and "Balalaia"
had specialists in disguises.
Since Carnival balls were not affordable by everyone, nor accordingly
to the morals of many, it was necessary to stimulate its moving
to the streets. For that reason, the sub-deputies were authorized
to freely distribute masks to whoever wanted to join Carnival.
Various commissions began to be assigned by the police chief,
and the central commission, along with other church commissions
which distributed masks, facilitated the purchase of other accessories,
as well as music band arrangements. Tradespeople soon sympathized
with the idea, aiming at more profit, and adopted Cranaval, instead
of the "Entrudo".
In 1870, the separate masked men, stimulated by the police, and
the public balls began to gain ground, although the "Entrudo"
was still alive. The environment where Carnival took place started
to improve, with the appearance of the "Bando Anunciador"
(announcing group), that would go out inviting everyone for the
In clubs and theaters, competitions among groups and families
that wore clothes and jewelry were held to show which entities
and associations were the most elegant and refined. The pioneer
"São João" Theater began to organize its
balls a year in advance.
In 1878, the Carnival group "Os Cavaleiros da Noite"
(The Night Knights) showed up for the first time in a ballroom
in great style at the "Sâo João" Theater
causing major furor. Two years later - with a greater number of
balls all over the city - Salvador was inhabited by 120,000 people,
eho concentrated financial resources and strong political power.
Therefore, there were money, power and abundance, and that magnificence
started to be shown in the ballrooms and Carnival balls. As an
example, the clothes, accessories, hats, beverages, jewelry, shoes
and nylons used in the parties were imported from the best stores
in Paris and London.
At the same time, stages and music bands multiplied all over the
city. Many uniformed clubs, such as "Zé Pereira",
"Os Comilões" and "Os Engenheiros",
costumed with "Cabeçorras" and other masks. As
the celebrations increased, it was agreed that the "Campo
Grande" would be the spot where masked people would meet
on the days of Carnival, from where they would go out in groups.
In 1882, the stores started the habit of closing on Carnival
Tuesday, from 1 p.m. on. The Mask Carnival and the Club Parades
would heat up after 2 p.m.
Five years before the proclamation of the republic, the city,
inhabited by about 170,000 people, organized its first great Carnival
on the streets. It was deeply influenced by Europe, as almost
everything that existed in Brazil at the time, with luxury, sophistication
and praising comments. Strongly influenced by the refined Carnival
in Venice, Italy, and mingling in elements from the popular Carnival
in Nice, France, Salvador's Carnival, took its first step towards
popularization, with the participation of many people on the streets.
The First Afoxé
The year of 1884 is considered as a conclusive moment for Bahia's
Carnival. Although the celebration already had a considerable
size - mainly in the ballrooms - it is in that year that the organization
of street festivities, and parades in clubs, car parades, floats
and many popular ones actually started. From then on, people's
participation intensification and the acclamation of Carnival
on the streets, which until now characterizes this celebration
in Bahia, took place.
The 1884 Carnival reached Salvador in a period of rapid growth,
caused by agriculture's progress in other regions and by the demands
for a better organization of the urban space with the rural exodus.
Progress was all around and tradespeople already made use of newspaper
publicity. Even people who wore costumes, such as the ones who
waited for the parade, dressed up, some in linen suits, gaiters
Founded on March 01, 1833, the "Clube Carnivalesco Cruz Vermelha"
only started to take part in Carnival in 1884. The club organized
a parade with boys and girls finely dressed and the novelty was
the presence of a float, with the theme "Criticism to the
Lottery Game", richly decorated with parts imported from
Europe. The parade took off from one of the streets of Comércio,
went up Montanha, passed in front of Barroquinha, Direita do Palácio
(Rua Chile), Direita da Misericórdia, Direita do Colégio,
and returned towards Politeama de Baixo (Instituto Feminino).
The initiative was a true success, and received a lot of applause
and flower petals from people who were on the streets. "Clube
Cruz Vermelha" basically changed Carnival.
In March 1884, a group of youths founded the "Clube Carnivalesco
Fantoches da Euterpe". The group was headed by four names
from high society: Antônio Carlos Magalhães Costa
(ACM's great-grandfather), João Vaz Agostinho, Fancisco
Saraiva, and Luís Tarquínio (its first president).
In 1885, the dispute between the two clubs was even more intense.
The "Diário de Notícias", the most influential
newspaper of the time, published a quarter page advertisement,
upon request of "Cruz Vermelha", describing its parade.
"Fantoches" reacted by having its celebration program
published in three columns. Both went to the streets with wonderful
themes and outfits from Europe. "Cruz Vermelha's" head
float presented "Fame" and "Fantoches", "Europe".
Other clubs also joined the parade such as "Saca Rolhas",
"Cavalheiros de Malta", "Clube dos Cacetes"
and "Grupo dos Nenês".
At the time, there wasn't a judging commission to establish who
won the parades and judgment was passed by the press, that measured
the population's approval by the amount of applause. "Cruz
Vermelha", more popular, always won, since "Fantoches",
more connected to the aristocracy, had a smaller number of rooters.
All the other entities represented the middle class.
In 1886, businessmen decided not to open the stores on Carnival
Tuesday anymore. The presidents of the larger clubs met in the
"Associação Comercial" with the objective
of studying an only itinerary for all the entities.
Two years later, the city had one of the most famous Carnivals.
"Cruz Vermelha" and "Fantoches" united to
offer an enormous ball at Politeama. The day of the great Carnival
Sunday finally came. There were many people on the streets; on
the windows, anxiety was seen all over. The first one to appear
was "Cruz Vermalha", with coordination, splendor and
luxury. The crowd vibrated, throwing flowers on the cars. Then
came "Fantoches", with its magnificent float decoration,
grace, luxury and artistic taste, which justified everyone's delight.
The result was both group's parading under rose rain. Carnival
was already a true attraction, persecuted with years of fight
and hope, and it was possible to say that it definitely beat the
In 1892, the use of confetti and paper streamers was introduced
in the country's Carnival. Confetti was used among some Carnival
entities and the streamers came to replace the flowers thrown
at the floats.
In 1894, Carnival mainly belonged to "Cruz Vermelha",
"Fantoche" and other's elites, which paraded on the
streets and attended the "Teatro São João"
and "Politeama" 's balls. The poor segment continued
to carry out few manifestations.
The "Trio Elétrico" comes up
following year, the nagô blacks organized the first "afoxé",
called "Embaixada Africana" (African Embassy), which
paraded with clothes and accessories imported from Africa.
In 1986 came the second "afoxé", "Pandêgos
da África" (African Spree), also organized by Blacks.
The groups represented African inheritance houses, and went to
the streets singing and reciting music sequences. The "afoxés"
made their exhibitions in Baixa dos Sapateiros, Taboão,
Barroquinha, and Pelourinho, while the big clubs paraded in more
noble areas. Nine years later, another "afoxé"
broke up with this tacit agreement and went up Barroquinha and
Ladeira de São Bento, causing protests in which the shattering
of this unwritten pact of spatial class and rhythm division was
the main focus. At the time, it was possible to verify a very
serious special division in the city.
Dissidents from "Cruz Vermelha" founded, in 1900, the
"Inocentes em Progresso" Carnival Club. The club's name
(Progressing Inocents) was inspired by a group of boys that would
pass by singing and playing percussion with cans.
In 1949, year of the 4th hundredth anniversary of the city's
foundation, the "Filhos de Gandhy" "Afoxé"
was founded by Salvador's port's stowers, as a way of honoring
the great Indian pacifist leader murdered in 1948, Mahatma Gandhy.
following year, the famous "electric pair" appeared.
After observing a parade with the famous "Vassourinha"
- a Pernambuco Carnival entity which played "frevo"
on Chile Streets- and carried away with the receptiveness of the
entity by the public, the electric pair formed by Dodô and
Osmar, decided to repair an Old 1929 Ford which had been kept
in the garage for a long time. In the same year's Carnival, they
went to the streets playing their "electric sticks"
(type of electric guitar) on top of the car, with the sound reproduced
by amplifiers. The presentation took place at 5 p. m. on Carnival
Sunday, attracting a huge crowd to downtown streets.
The name "trio elétrico" came in 1951, when,
for the first time, a group of three musicians presented in Carnival.
The electric pair invited a musician and friend, Temístocles
Aragão, to join the group and play on the streets of Salvador
on a Chrysler pick-up, fargo model. bigger than the previous year's
"fobica", whose side doors read "The trio elétrico".
Osmar played the famous "Bahia guitar", with a sharp
sound. Dodô was i9n charge of the "electric guitar
stick", with the deep sound, and Aragão was responsible
for the "triolim", as the medium sound tenor guitar
was known. The musical group was then formed.
In 1961, the first "Momo King" parade came up, role
performed by the public worker and taxi driver Ferreirinha.
The following year, the first large Carnival Group (bloco), called
"Os Internacionais" (the internationals) appeared, formed
only by men. At that time, every moment a different trio elétrico
popped out, although the blocos went to the streets accompanied
only by drums or percussion groups. It was then when the well
known ropes and "mortalhas" (outfits worn by the members
of the bloco) came up. In 1965, by a presidential order, the fabrication,
trade and use of "lança-perfume" (a squirter
with a perfume-like substance used during Carnival), initially
imported from France, then from Argentina, was prohibited.
seventies made Praça Castro Alves the peak of Carnival,
the place where everybody met and where it was possible to do
everything. It was the time of cultural, social and sexual liberation.
Up until then, the trios elétricos were basically allegoric
vehicles, decorated almost exclusively with loudspeakers. The
amplifiers were made of tubes and, on top of the trio, there would
be musicians with "Bahia guitars", bass guitars, electrical
guitars, and there was no lead singer.
Still in the seventies, the "Novos Bárbaros"
were daring enough to put some sound boxes and transistorized
equipment on the trio. Baby Consuelo showed up singing with a
microphone plugged into a guitar cable.
"Colombina", composed by Armando Sá and Miquel
Brito was officially recognized as Salvador's Carnival's anthem.
As if all the changes weren't enough, and even more radical one
happened in the 1974 Carnival, with the appearance of the "Afro
Ilê Aiyê" bloco. The entity, which started thew
process of re-Africanization of the party, contributed to the
arrival of the "Badauê" afoxé and to the
re-birth of the "Filhos de Gandhy" afoxé. It
was the dawn of Salvador's Carnival's cultural growth, as it began
to put emphasis on conflicts and protest against racism.
In 1975 the "Dodô e Osmar" trio elétrico
celebrated its 25th anniversary e definitely got back to the scene,
after spending 14 years away. The group came back with a new formation,
including the musician Armadinho, Osmar's son, and changed its
name to "Trio Elétrico de Armadinho, Dodô e
In 1976 the "Novos Baianos" trio elétrico arrived,
introducing, along with Armandinho's trio the Bahia swing.
The following year, the samba groups that participated in Salvador's
Carnival stopped parading. Although the trio blocos appeared in
the beginning of the decade, it was only in 1978 that "Camaleão"
started to overcome the amateurism that existed in the first trio
blocos, marking their emergence in Salvador's Carnival. It was
in the same year that the use of masks, previously a reason for
people's joy and grace, began to be disappear. In spite of being
an essential accessory to complete Carnival's costumes, the mask,
which was also known as "careta", was also used to hide
the shame of a joyful face from well known and indiscrete looks.
In 1979 the first meeting between an afoxé and a trio
elétrico happened with the arrival of the song "Assim
Pintou Moçambique", by Moraes Moreira and Antônio
Risério, setting forth the process of "electric afoxé"
of Bahia's current music.
Carnival Dates (Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday)
the beginning of the eighties, Salvador's Carnival's transformation
was even more intensified and the bloco "Traz os Montes"
was responsible for some innovations, such as the assembly of
a trio elétrico with transistorized equipment, installation
of air conditioning to cool down and maintain the equipment in
a reasonable temperature, replacement of the mouth-shaped loudspeakers
by rectangular sound boxes, elimination of the traditional percussion
which would lie on the sides of the trio and insertion of a band
with drums, singer and other musicians on top of the trio.
In 1981, the "Eva" bloco, which first appeared in 1980
and was considered one of the most irreverent and innovative entities
of Carnival, decided to dare more than Traz os Montes and hired
engineers to plan the new trio and sound system's structural calculus,
besides importing the whole system from the U.S.A. (with a new
sound table and all the necessary gear to make the band and trio
work perfectly). Thus, Eva made all the other blocos invest in
The public and critics began to distinctly notice the difference
between their equipment and the others, as well as the quality
of the singers and bands.
In the same year, the governor passed a law (Decreto nº
27.811) which determined the suspension of work on public offices
on the Friday before Carnival.
A year later, there was such a great number of people on the streets
of Salvador that people who traditionally went to Praça
Castro Alves (intellectuals, professionals and travesties) were
rather irritated with the invasion of this traditional liberal
site. That year, the "mortalha" began to disappear as
a Carnival outfit giving place to shorts or overalls.
In the 1983 Carnival, something close to 30 or 40 different new
rhythms came up.
In 1988, for the first time an afro bloco, "Olodum"
paraded in Barra; the year of celebration of 100 years of slavery
banishment in Brazil, and the theme was "Bahia de todas as
Áfricas" (Bahia of all Africas).
2003 - 2009
2003 March 3 and 4
2004 February 23 and 24
2005 February 7 and 8
2006 February 27 and 28
2007 February 19 and 20
2008 February 4 and 5
2009 February 23 and 24