The Carnival in Brazil: From the R$15.7k Abadá in Sapucaí to the New Carnival Capital of Minas Gerais


Hatched by Thati

Jun 10, 2024

5 min read


The Carnival in Brazil: From the R$15.7k Abadá in Sapucaí to the New Carnival Capital of Minas Gerais

Carnival is a time of joy, celebration, and vibrant parades in Brazil. It is a tradition deeply rooted in the country's culture, and each year, millions of people gather to participate in this colorful and lively event. From the traditional destination of Olinda to the emerging Carnival capital of Belo Horizonte, there are unique experiences and stories that make Brazil's Carnival truly one of a kind.

Olinda, a small city in the northeastern state of Pernambuco, is known for its historic architecture, cobblestone streets, and lively Carnival celebrations. During Carnival, Olinda becomes a hub of activity, with an impressive 1,500 official blocks parading through its streets. Surprisingly, this number is equivalent to the combined number of blocks in São Paulo, Belo Horizonte, and Salvador, three major cities in Brazil. With such a massive participation, Olinda truly comes alive during Carnival, attracting both locals and tourists alike.

Speaking of Belo Horizonte, this city has recently emerged as a new Carnival hot spot in Brazil. Over the past decade, the city has experienced a significant growth in Carnival attendance. In 2013, Belo Horizonte saw 500,000 revelers taking part in the festivities. Fast forward ten years, and that number has skyrocketed to 5.2 million, representing an astonishing increase of over 900%. The number of official blocks in the city has also seen a substantial rise, going from 247 in 2016 to 536 in 2024. This growth highlights the evolving landscape of Carnival in Brazil and the increasing popularity of Belo Horizonte as a Carnival destination.

Moving on to the iconic Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, where the renowned Sambadrome is home to dazzling parades and fierce competitions between samba schools. Among these samba schools, Portela stands out with an impressive record of 22 titles, making it the most successful school in the history of the Sambadrome. Following closely behind are Mangueira with 20 titles and Beija-Flor with 14 titles. These schools represent the epitome of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, captivating audiences with their elaborate costumes, intricate choreography, and infectious music.

Salvador, on the other hand, offers a different Carnival experience, known for its vibrant street parties and energetic music. In 2023, the city welcomed an astounding one million tourists during Carnival, equivalent to the entire population of Maceió, a city estimated to have around 958,000 inhabitants. This influx of visitors demonstrates the allure of Salvador's Carnival and its reputation as a must-visit destination during this festive season.

While Carnival is a time of celebration, it is essential to address the behind-the-scenes realities that are often overlooked. The rise of the gig economy and the "uberization" of work have had a significant impact on various industries, including the delivery and transportation sectors. A documentary titled "GIG - A Uberização do Trabalho" sheds light on the challenges faced by workers in this new era of work.

The documentary explores the experiences of different workers, such as domestic workers and motorcycle couriers, who have turned to apps for employment opportunities. While the convenience of these apps initially seemed promising, workers soon discovered the downsides. They realized that they were considered independent contractors, with no benefits or protections typically provided to employees. In the case of motorcycle couriers, they found themselves responsible for any accidents, thefts, or damages that occurred while working.

The gig economy platforms argue that they are not traditional employers and, therefore, not subject to the same regulations and responsibilities. Instead, they present themselves as facilitators, providing workers with the opportunity to use their apps and earn money. However, this argument raises questions about the true nature of these platforms and their role in shaping the future of work.

One of the key issues highlighted in the documentary is the lack of control and autonomy that workers experience. The platforms dictate the prices, control the workflow, and even decide which jobs are assigned to whom. Workers find themselves at the mercy of algorithms, with no freedom to choose the tasks they want to undertake. This lack of autonomy contradicts the idea of being an independent contractor and raises concerns about the balance of power between workers and platforms.

In conclusion, Brazil's Carnival is a vibrant and diverse celebration that brings people from all walks of life together. From the historic streets of Olinda to the emerging Carnival capital of Belo Horizonte, each destination offers a unique experience. However, it is crucial to acknowledge the challenges faced by workers in the gig economy, as highlighted in the documentary "GIG - A Uberização do Trabalho." While the convenience of these apps may initially seem appealing, workers often find themselves in precarious situations with little control over their work and livelihoods.

To navigate the complexities of the gig economy, here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Research and choose platforms that prioritize worker rights and provide fair compensation and benefits. Look for platforms that have transparent policies and a track record of treating workers ethically.
  • 2. Advocate for regulations that protect workers' rights in the gig economy. Support organizations and initiatives that aim to create fair labor practices and ensure the well-being of gig workers.
  • 3. Explore alternative avenues for income generation outside of gig economy platforms. Consider developing your skills and pursuing opportunities that allow for more control and autonomy over your work.

By understanding the nuances of Brazil's Carnival and the challenges faced by workers in the gig economy, we can contribute to creating a more equitable and inclusive future for all.

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