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from Photographers' Blog:

Carnival, from film to Paneikon

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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

By Sergio Moraes

I remember it as if it were yesterday. I was a staff photographer at the Isto É news magazine when I was assigned for the first time to cover the Carnival parade of samba schools. The year was 1986, and I was 24.

GALLERY: BRAZIL'S CARNIVAL

From then to now coverage of the event changed a lot, I changed a lot, and even Carnival changed a lot. By coincidence that was the first year that the parade was organized by LIESA, Rio’s Independent League of Samba Schools, which still organizes it today.

I felt as if I had received a present.

I went to the parade with the joy and excitement of someone going to a World Cup or Olympics. Back then 14 samba schools competed in one long night, while today there are 12 split across two nights. When the last school hit the runway I was on my 48th roll of film as if it were my first. Such was my joy at covering.

The headquarters of the magazine was in Sao Paulo, so as soon as the parade ended I headed to the airport, and then straight to hand in my film. I had a 3pm breakfast as the film was being developed, and the editor arrived to look over the 150 rolls from the three photographers who covered Carnival. I still recognize that as my first lesson on self-control in a big event.

from Photographers' Blog:

Carnival in Germany, when everything is upside down

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By Kai Pfaffenbach

We Germans (at least most of us) seem to be well organized, diligent, reliable, politically correct and ready to help, even with our money. But there is one thing we Germans are prejudiced for – our lack of humor.

It looks like for that reason “Carnival” was invented.

Okay, that’s not true. About 600 years ago, people started big celebrations for the last days before Ash Wednesday and the end of the Christian period of fasting. To get better control of those festivities authorities “organized” Carnival. Over the years it became more and more popular to wear funny costumes.

from Photographers' Blog:

Carnival: Photographer or reveler?

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I lived the Barranquilla Carnival for the fourth time this year, and although I found it even more elaborate than in the past there was still a lot of the chaos so typical of Colombia’s Caribbean towns. I felt apprehensive and fearful after having been robbed two years earlier in the entrance reserved for photographers. My flash was gone in an instant then, whisked from my bag in seconds. This year I arrived on a sunny day, hoping to find some new Carnival characters to photograph.

A reveller performs during Barranquilla carnival parade in Colombia March 6, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Miguel Gomez
Covering Carnival here is not the same as in Rio’s Sambadrome, where photogenic scenes exist everywhere you look. Rio's is well-organized with an established time schedule, beginning at night and finishing at sunrise. Their costumes are beautifully-made, with the dancers synchronized on monumental floats amid realistic scenery. In contrast Barranquilla holds its Carnival in the streets, with electric cables, advertising billboards, garbage and the ugly metal fence that separates the public from the parade spoiling the landscape. It's creative mayhem where the dancers drink liquor, dance however they feel, and play with the public. Their suits often show the wear of many years of use, and the engines that move the floats spew the smoke of old age.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Give us a big smile, your majesty!

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TRINIDAD/

Say, Blog Guy, whatever happened to that coveted position you used to write about, the Queen of the Entire World?

queen of world vertical 240I remember you used to tell us whenever someone new got the title, but that motorcycle chick in the gold lamé swimsuit and stilettos seems to have reigned for some time now.

from FaithWorld:

Istanbul celebrates carnival after nearly 70 years

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istanbul carnival 1

(Istanbul celebrates carnival, 7 March 2011/all photos by Jonathan Lewis)

Istanbul’s tiny Greek community has revived an all-but-extinct tradition by celebrating Bakla Horani, an evening of carousing at the end of carnival ahead of Lent. About 300 masked, painted and costumed revelers paraded on Monday through the streets of Istanbul’s Kurtulus district, known as Tatavla when it was home to Greeks decades ago.

The procession ended at a local hall where musicians performed rembetiko and cranked a laterna, a Greek mechanical piano. Partiers were served raki, the aniseed-flavoured spirit, and meze that featured beans. (Bakla Horani roughly translates as “eating beans,” referring to the austere Lenten diet that looms.)

from Oddly Enough Blog:

There were no floats? I didn’t notice!

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BRAZIL/

Okay, it seems a large fire swept through Rio de Janeiro's Carnival center this week, "destroying thousands of costumes and floats and throwing preparations for Brazil's annual festival of hedonism into chaos."

BRAZIL-CARNIVAL/I know this is a serious thing. They work pretty hard all year long on that stuff, and Carnival starts in three weeks.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Don’t Basque, don’t tell…

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spanish festival 490

Blog Guy, in the past you've criticized Spain for things like bullfighting, the running of the bulls in Pamplona, and that thing where they ride horses through fire. Don't they have any normal traditions?

festival guy entrails 320Sure. Just a couple of days ago we covered carnival celebrations up in the Basque region, and I've been looking at our photos of that.

from FaithWorld:

Giant Jesus statue rises above Polish countryside

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A statue of Jesus Christ that its builders say will be the largest in the world is fast rising from a Polish cabbage field and local officials hope it will become a beacon for tourists. The builders expect to attach the arms, head and crown to the robed torso in coming days, weather and cranes permitting, completing a project conceived by local Catholic priest Sylwester Zawadzki and paid for by private donations.

Standing on an artificial mound, the plaster and fiber glass statue will stand some 52 meters (57 yards) when completed, taller than the famous statue of Christ the Redeemer with outstretched arms that gazes over Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Polish officials say.

from FaithWorld:

Denying communion is not just for Catholic politicians

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Carnival revelers in Düsseldorf, 15 Feb 2010/Ina Fassbender

When a Catholic priest's refusal to distribute communion to someone at Mass hits the headlines, it's usually a U.S. Catholic politician supporting abortion rights who's at the non-receiving end. Things are a bit different in the Netherlands, where the headlines these days are about a small town's "carnival prince" turned away at the altar. That refusal led to gay protests at at some Sunday Masses, including the nearby cathedral, and decisions to refuse communion to everyone present.  The protesters have vowed to continue for the next seven Sundays.

The reason for the dispute is that "carnival prince" Gijs Vermeulen, the man chosen to lead the Mardi Gras  parade and other carnival festivities in Reusel near the Belgian border, lives with a gay partner. Tradition calls for the prince to lead townspeople to Mass on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, but the local pastor told him he could not receive communion there because of his gay relationship. That Mass went ahead, but news of it got out to gay activists around the country and several converged on Reusel the following Sunday. Faced with this protest, the pastor refused to distribute communion to anyone, not even life-long parishioners. He said this was decided with the support of the his bishop, Antoon Hurkmans.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Carnival: if you go, don’t plan to go

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Not to seem indelicate, but I guess it's human nature to worry about having ample places to go to the bathroom. I suspect that if somebody came back to life after having seen the afterlife, our first question would be, "Are there enough toilets over there?"

BRAZIL/

Indeed, travel surveys have found that among Americans planning to go abroad, their number one and number two concerns are, well, number one and number two.

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