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Carnival of São Paulo and Rio – Even the city of Rio de Janeiro joined the discussion on the subject on social networks

Would it be the new cookie x cookie? A discussion about the use of the term “bloquinho” to refer to street Carnival parades in Rio reignited the rivalry between cariocas and paulistanos. Even Mayor Eduardo Paes (PSD) joined in the fun (or would that be controversial?).

Carnival of São Paulo and Rio

In addition to the multitude of comments and memes on social networks, Estadão sought experts and associations to discuss what brings together and differentiates the festivity in the two capitals. (Carnival of São Paulo and Rio)

In Rio, the city hall’s profile on social networks even published an “erramos” on February 5 after the post with the term “bloquinho” generated repercussions. “The City Hall publicly regrets the use of the diminutive ‘bloco’ in the above tweet, in clear disagreement with Carioca traditions. The official responsible will be on duty at Carnival to learn”, he joked.

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In response to jokes and complaints that the “pad” is made of paper and that soon the associations will be called “bló” (in reference to São Paulo’s tendency to shorten words), the city hall’s profile responded to some critics with apologies for the “upset ” and admitted the “vacillation” by not applying the “carioquês”. The post with the errata was shared by Paes, who wrote: “Eu huh! Bloquinho is the…”, leaving the rest of the sentence to the reader’s imagination.

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One of the strongest theories among experts, revelers and blocks is that the term “bloquinho” would have its origin in the diminutive size of the São Paulo street Carnival until ten years ago, with a few hundred revelers and that’s it. Another hypothesis is that the diminutive would be an affectionate way of referring to the processions. Even more so in the context of a city that went from being the “tomb of samba” to almost 500 parades in a decade. (Carnival of São Paulo and Rio)

From a forbidden celebration until 2013, the festivity in São Paulo today attracts millions of revelers and the presence of even associations from other states, including Rio’s “rivals”.

There are even those who dare to say that the Carnival in São Paulo has become the biggest in the country, generating indignation not only among neighbors in Rio, but also in Salvador and the Recife-Olinda axis. Some also point out that size is not everything when, during Carnival, tradition speaks louder.

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If the Rio-São Paulo rivalry is seen from football to arguments over mashed potatoes in hot dogs, Carnival would be no exception. 

And the stereotypes that permeate the imagination of the two capitals are repeated when part of the public refers to the carnivals in both. Would the paulistano be more straight-laced, more organized, more plastered? Would it be the most popular, most fantasized, most “root” carioca, as they say in the dialect of the internet?

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Carnival of São Paulo and Rio
Carnival of São Paulo and Rio Carnival of São Paulo and Rio

At all, the clichés are not wrong. Blocks that parade in both cities find it easier to sign up and organize in São Paulo, more with a “professionalized” revelry look. On the other hand, they are surprised by the time limitations of the São Paulo parades, concentrated between 9 am and 7 pm, without the spontaneity and marathon nature of Rio parades. (Carnival of São Paulo and Rio)

“The difference is a fact”, attests Gigante César, one of the founders of Bunytos de Corpo. Aimed at satirizing the exaggerated cult of appearance, the block makes jokes about physical activity. “In Rio, people play more, buy the idea more, go in costume”, he says.

Cariocas go to the parade with neon clothes, overalls and other items that refer to the universe of gyms, but the situation is not repeated in the same proportion in São Paulo – where the block has also been parading since 2020.

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“People from São Paulo haven’t had a carnival culture for so long”, says César. But for him, the situation has changed. “I think this year will be more interactive.”

He cites the example of another group that participated, which had references to Egypt and generated complaints from the public when it did not parade. The revelers were not only outraged but also improvised the founding of an association with a similar proposal. All of this not to miss the opportunity to meet other pharaohs dressed in Egyptian style. (Carnival of São Paulo and Rio)

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As for the controversial use of the diminutive paulista in Rio de Janeiro, César considers that the “inho” from São Paulo is not a way of despising carnival. “Carnival is everything, it’s a block, it’s a block…”

Another point that differentiates the two experiences is the reveler. In Rio, a more significant part of the public plans costumes, sometimes in line with the proposal of the blocks or with the hot topics at the moment. 

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In pre-Carnival Rio de Janeiro, for example, different people dressed in Shakira jelly in reference to the episode that would have been key for the singer to discover that she was betrayed by her husband, the player Piqué.

São Paulo residents, on the other hand, are not so used to producing personalized costumes. In the blocks, the most common thing is to find revelers with accessories and bright makeup and some headdress, sometimes a small sign with a pun or similar. Furthermore, more creative fantasies are not as common to find among the public in São Paulo, although they do occur.

Another that parades in both cities is Quizomba, also born in Rio and which began to hold workshops and processions among the people of São Paulo more than ten years ago. Today, the conductor and director of the block, André Schmidt, assesses that the experience is similar in both capitals, but still with some differences.

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“Rio has more Carnival culture, for a longer time”, he says, citing the resumption of Rio’s street parades in the early 2000s. “It’s more popular than in São Paulo. Until ten years ago, it was done in São Paulo only by older, more traditional groups.”

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On the other hand, the musician says that the animation is similar. “The public that enjoys it. São Paulo is now well supplied with Carnival”, he says. “I think that Carnival in São Paulo is getting closer in enthusiasm and joy to Rio. The drums are just as good.”

Among the points that brought the two cities closer together, Schmidt cites the collaboration of blocks from Rio de Janeiro with those from São Paulo (Quizomba played, for example, in editions of Acadêmicos do Baixo Augusta) and the holding of percussion workshops in São Paulo.

“Since we form 100 to 120 drummers every year, they meet and create blocks. The workshops end up encouraging these people”, he points out. For him, the way of referring to associations in the diminutive is cultural. “It’s not pejorative. I find it charming,” he says.

Couples kiss a lot on the first night of Rio parades

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