By Emma Holm-Olsen
From Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, the students and staff of the American School of Brasilia jetted off to exotic places all over the region to celebrate one of the most beloved and entertaining holidays, as well as to participate in some of the world’s largest parties. Carnival, a Western Christian and Greek Orthodox holiday that occurs before Lent, the period of repentance and cleansing after two or three days of ‘sinning’, has always been considered a religious holiday. Of course it still is, but in the last few decades has strayed away from it’s religious connotations in efforts for companies and destination vacation spots to make money and of course for people to just let loose and have fun for a few days. That being said, people generally go a bit crazy during those few days with partying until the early hours of the morning with lots of eating and drinking, and all around merry-making. Although the religions that celebrate Carnival and Lent frown upon any kind of partying or pleasure taking from Ash Wednesday on, many people tend to ignore that “guideline”.
Anyway, back to how people actually spent the week-long vacation! As for me, the extent of my celebration was a bit of glitter and a venture downtown to take part in a “bloquinho” devoted to bringing back classic Carnival Bossa Nova music. (News flash- this was my parents’ idea but I went with the flow, as you do with parents).
High school Junior Sarah Wiggins travelled to Argentina for the week
Other students and teachers had much more interesting breaks. High school Junior Sarah Wiggins travelled to Argentina for the week and had a spectacular time. “Over Carnival I traveled to the deservedly famous, Buenos Aires, in which I was able to dip my toes in the culture and qualities of the beautiful city. The trip consisted of many steps in exploring the city and even more bites of the diverse and amazing foods that could be found on every street”, Sarah said in an interview earlier this week. “We then went to Mendoza, a much smaller city, which was a lot less bustling than Buenos Aires with its serene atmosphere and wonderful landscapes… there were vineyards full of sweet grapes for the harvest season that stretched as far as the eye could see.” I would say that’s a pretty nice way to spend a week off! Other students stayed within Brazil, but still found ways to get the most out of their carnival break. One of my fellow classmates, who preferred to remain anonymous, went to Rio for a few days, where she visited Cristo Redentor, the Escadaria Selaron (the famous mosaic steps near Lapa), as well as took part in the festivities of the Sambadrome parades over the weekend. The Sambadrome parades in Rio de Janeiro is the largest Carnival celebration worldwide, with the festivals dating back as early as 1723. Obviously it’s still going strong with more than two million people on the streets every year. Students weren’t the only ones who took advantage of the holiday, though. High School English teacher, David Sweetman drove 16 (!) hours to Paraty for the week where he spent the days on a schooner sailing around the islands; at the gorgeous coastal municipality of Ubatuba; going to see a form of puppet theatre known as Ban Raku, as well as visiting the famous Basilica and National Shrine to Nossa Senhora Aparecida. High School Biology teacher Erin Kahle stayed in Brasilia, with her family, the first few days of break to avoid the raucous Carnaval crowds. Around the area though, they visited the Itiquira waterfall where her husband, English teacher Andrew Jones, hiked to the top with some friends. They also went to Trancoso, Bahia where they got some well deserved rest at the beautiful beaches while spending time with some other EAB teachers and families.
As you can see from these students and many more, EAB is a very diverse school, thus making sense that our students travel to far-off places to spend their week off. I hope everyone had a great break, no matter where they went (or didn’t go!), and that we are all well-rested (well actually, I’m not so sure about well-rested with all of that partying we did!) and ready to return to the seemingly endless days and very small amounts of sleep, of school- obviously (*sarcasm definitely intended*) our most favorite way to spend our precious days;)