Brazil’s Carnival kicked off Thursday with millions of people taking to the streets of the northeastern city of Salvador de Bahia to dance and party, effectively putting the nation on a week-long hiatus.
Over the coming days, the festivities will consume the entire country of 193 million people.
The climax arrives Sunday and Monday with Rio de Janeiro‘s extravagant and sexy parades, replete with near-naked dancing queens and over-the-top fantasy floats.
Even the capital Brasilia was suspending political and legislative work, with many lawmakers leaving town to enjoy the celebrations.
“Brazil’s Carnival is a tradition. Nobody can resist the need to be part of it,” the head of the senate, Jose Sarney, said.
Salvador de Bahia, with its heady melange of African rhythms and Portuguese colonial architecture, as usual was quickest to get the party started, playing host to dozens of street dance-and-drinking celebrations Thursday.
Google was inciting envy worldwide by broadcasting the fun there through its YouTube site.
The annual pre-Easter frenzy of non-stop partying, drinking, flirting and concerts in Brazil is a big tourist draw, especially for Rio, where authorities have cracked down in recent weeks and months on criminal gangs to improve the city’s violent image.
Rio will join the festivities on Friday night, like most of the country.
Then, Sunday and Monday, the top Carnival parade groups — Rio’s samba schools — will crown the rejoicing by filing through the 70,000-seat Sambadrome stadium for a global broadcast audience. (more…)
While the site has become synonymous with social networking in the US and Europe, the story is very different in Brazil, where Google’s Orkut is king of the hill. But as Brazilians become more globally connected, Facebook is making inroads into Latin America’s largest economy.
“If you’re in Brazil and you’re not on Orkut, you’re nobody”, says Alex Banks, managing director of Brazil and vice president of Latin America at web research firm ComScore. “It’s incredibly popular, incredibly well used, and it is the Brazilian social network.”
Orkut drew 28.9m visitors in July, according to ComScore – more than three-quarters of Brazil’s internet audience, and more than the combined number of visitors to Facebook and Twitter that month. ComScore estimates that Brazilians spend 14 per cent of their total time online on Orkut, and the average user visits the site 37 times a month. (more…)