Three posts in three days, after a period of 10 days of silence. What happens? Or what happened during those 10 days that i had no time to post?
If you are from Brazil, you might have gessed: CARNAVAL.
I am not completely satisfied that the meaning of “Carnaval” in Brazil can be translated for “carnival”, as the former is much more than a party, much more than a holyday. It assumes defining proportions in the culture of Brazil, depending on who do you ask. Carnaval seems like days out of time.
Most foreigners do not understand it before they have come and lived it. There were foreigners at our home who did not get it at all, she said brazilians do stupid things and blame it on carnaval. The cool thing is that indeed we do, but the very fact that she stated such thing shows that she doesn’t have a clue what Carnaval is all about.
First of all, you do not choose Carnaval, it chooses you. It is not a party, where you are safe behind your pose of coolness, where people are content to live inside the constraints of their clique of friends. Carnaval is a global experience, that cannot be watched from a distance, it can only be lived. It has to go through you, to shake you up, or else it is not carnaval.
It is usually said that during Carnaval all the rules are supressed, but this statement should not be taken at face value. Carnaval is not merely a do-what-you-please time, it is a shaking-up of what-you-used-to-do-before time. The rules are much more flexible during Carnaval, but there are still rules, there are still routines, the only difference being that experiment-in-rules is not punished. Obviously idiots are still punished, but simply different is not. If someone wants to throw pepper in your eyes you will still punch him in the face, but if someone wants to use his pants in his head you will not tell him he’s wrong. Actually you might take a picture. And you can get creative in punishing the idiots, too.
Another thing: Carnaval is not “made” by someone, not the Prefecture, not the GRES, not Father-of-Saints. Carnaval is because everyone around knows it is, and because everyone around lives it — even if that means running away from it. Even if all the parades where to go out at the same time, it would still not be Carnaval because people would not be in Carnaval-mode.
Having started to live Carnaval just a few years ago, i do have a curious take on it: i do not share the demeaning prejudicious look of the foreigners at my house, but i do not share the do-as-you-please look of my local friends (i am in Recife right now, if you wondered).
I still think Carnaval is a catharsis, a deeper and idiossincratic self-realization ritual. Not that anyone “finds himself” during Carnaval. There simply isn’t time enough, not quiet enough. But we can discover that some of the things we thought we were we are not, not realy.
That’s why i think you should get lost during Carnaval. That’s why i think you should exert you body beyond it’s normal limits, beyond your resistance, until the point you end up sleeping in the street.
Finally, there is one more thing important about Carnaval: it ends. As much as it pains me to quote Loser Manos, there you are: “every mardi-gras has it’s end”. “Todo carnaval tem seu fim”. The unpleasant wednesday always comes at the best of the party. And this fact allows Carnaval to be that catharsis i was talking about.
But anyways, i am just hoping someone out there missed me those few days. Now back at our usual full verbiage…