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The Carnival of Brazil (Portuguese: Carnaval do Brasil, IPA: [kaʁnaˈvaw]) is an annual festival held during the Friday to the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival," fromcarnelevare, "to remove (literally, "raise") meat." Carnival has roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Catholicism became a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ's death and resurrection.
Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades ("blocos") allowing public participation can be found in other cities. The northeastern cities of Recife, Olinda, Salvadorand Porto Seguro have organized groups parading through streets, and public interacts directly with them. This carnival is also influenced by African-Brazilian culture. It's a six-day party where crowds follow the trios elétricos through the city streets, dancing and singing. Also in northeast, Olinda carnival features unique characteristics, heavily influenced by local folklore and cultural manifestations, such as Frevo and Maracatu.