Carnival of diversity and colors is this year’s theme for the Carmelitas block, which parades this Friday (9) through the streets of Santa Teresa, a neighborhood in the central region of Rio de Janeiro. The gathering is scheduled for 1pm, with the parade starting at 3pm.
The procession will leave the corner of Ladeira de Santa Teresa and Rua Dias de Barros, in front of Bar do Serginho, and head towards Largo dos Guimarães, where it will disperse at around 7pm.
The block’s second parade this year will take place on Carnival Tuesday (13), gathering at 8am, at Largo do Curvelo, also in Santa Teresa, following the procession along Rua Joaquim Murtinho, corner of Travessa das Escadinhas de Santa Teresa , where it disperses at 2pm.
Founded in 1990, it parades in Santa Teresa, where the Carmelitas Convent is located, the origin of its name. Photograph: Disclosure/Carmelites
According to the bloc’s president, Alvanisio Damasceno, the bloc’s battery leaves with around 150 to 200 members. As the group has few of its own costumes, with the exception of the various “Carmelites”, Damasceno hopes that revelers will embrace the theme and create costumes with plenty of diversity and color. The block’s wing-opening doll also received a new outfit, as required by the block’s theme.
The president said he did not know the exact number of revelers who follow the block at each parade. When requesting authorization to go out during Carnival, he estimated that the group would attract around 5 thousand revelers. But the city hall estimated 10,000 people “The streets of Santa Teresa are narrow and we only had an idea of the crowd when we saw that the streets were packed,” said Damasceno.
The idea, this year, is to have a happy, irreverent and playful carnival, “talking about the country, but with joy. It’s another Carmelite carnival.”
Bloco das Carmelitas came out, for the first time, in the second half of 1990 to honor Laurinda Santos Lobo, socialite whose house hosted the hottest parties in Rio de Janeiro, in the Santa Teresa neighborhood, in the first decades of the 20th century. Initially composed of peladeiros who played football on the land next to Laurinda’s house, formerly Parque das Ruínas, now the Municipal Cultural Center Parque Glória Maria, the following year the block opened and closed the festivities in the neighborhood, with two exits. One of them took place on the Friday before Carnival and another on Shrove Tuesday, which is repeated to this day.
As Santa Teresa emerged from the founding of the Convento das Carmelitas, revelers and lovers of the neighborhood gave the block the name Carmelitas. The legend was created that, every year, a nun jumps over the convent wall to play carnival on Friday and only returns to the cloister on Tuesday. As a result, it became a tradition in the block for men and women to wear nun’s habits, so that the “runaway” can play in peace, without being recognized. In addition to the nun costumes, a large doll also became part of the group, which presents itself to the public as the most lively Carmelite.
Due to its irreverent and good-humored way of producing culture, Carmelitas is considered one of the most charming blocks in the city and an important part of the history of Rio’s festivities.
When street carnival grew dramatically in the early 2000s, Carmelitas joined with other blocks to found the Independent Association of Street Carnival Blocks in the South Zone, Santa Teresa and Center of the City of São Sebastião in Rio de Janeiro (Sebastiana), so that carnival would not lose its charm or steal peace from the streets that housed it.
According to Carmelitas management, the demonstration of responsibility aroused the interest of companies, which began to financially support the blocks. One of the characteristics of Sebastiana’s affiliated associations is their concern with sustainability and a clean Carnival, which is why they hire teams to collect the trash accumulated during the processions.