The Carnival “Blocos” started to animate the city of Rio de Janeiro, at the opening of the “unofficial” Carnival, with some groups that were formed to be a free manifestation of the revelers, but the city center’s agglomeration of people jumping the carnival in the street blocks can be a propitious environment for thefts and robberies. Besides counting on the security that should be provided by the authorities, you can also prevent some situations.
What are the “Blocos”?
Carnival blocks are parades in which people of all ages parade along a previously defined route to the sound of a samba and the rhythm of drums, in a semi-organized way, often wearing the same costume or t-shirt, or dressed however they like. When they have wind instruments, they are usually called Bands. Its history goes back to the early 1800s, when cordões were created. These groups of people organized parades with local music, choreographed dances and made instruments, and later became restricted to their respective neighborhoods. Rio’s blocos and bandas organize popular parades throughout Carnaval, and sometimes even throughout the year, depending on their popularity.
Famous modern blocos and bands
Today’s blocos are restricted to their respective neighborhoods. Each group has a theme song with a band that plays their songs. Adding famous songs like marchinhas and old sambas-enredos to their own repertoire is a common practice to generate more interest in the group.
Among the most popular blocos and bands in Rio are Monobloco, Simpatia é Quase Amor, Banda de Ipanema, and Suvaco do Cristo. Although they exist in all neighborhoods, their greatest concentration is in Leblon, Copacabana, Ipanema, Santa Teresa, Lagoa, Jardim Botânico, and Downtown. The blocos begin their activities in January and continue until the Sunday after Carnaval.
After years of enjoying the Carnivals of Rio de Janeiro, I decided to share some precious tips on how to enjoy the street parties in a safe way:
What to bring?
You will need very few things to enjo the party. I recommend carrying only the most important items:
- Cop of ID card
- Prefer to use cash
- Home key
- Old Smartphone
- Paper with telephone numbers written down, in case you lose your cell phone or the battery runs out
Where to carry it?
- Avoid backpacks and purses
- Go with safe clothes that allow you to store your belongings in the front pockets
- Bermudas with side pockets, with Velcro or buttons, are also a good option
- Carry a ‘doleira’ or ‘porta-dólar’, which is a small pocket that you keep between your clothes and your body
- Protect your cell phone, never put it in the back pockets of your clothes
How should I dress?
- Associate the costume with comfortable clothes that have secure pockets, with buttons and Velcro, for example
- Prefer closed shoes and sneakers, to avoid cuts with glass shards, bumps and trips that can hurt the toes it
If I am robbed or mugged?
- If you are approached by an armed criminal, do not react.
- Make a theft report. In some states, reporting this type of crime can be done online
- Don’t buy drinks from unknown peddlers, prefer accredited bars
- Don’t share drinks with anyone
- Don’t leave the drink far from youIf you drink, don’t drive
- Set meeting points with your friends. In case you get lost, it is easy to find each other.
- Don’t count on your cell phone. In the middle of the party, you may not be able to hear the ring tone.
You can’t miss Rio’s best carnival blocos and bands. More than 250 groups that are registered by the City Hall will hold about 500 parades during the upcoming Carnival, so make sure you attend at least one to complete your Carnival experience.