It was one of the hottest days, or so it seemed, and it was only February, as I strolled down Ipanema and Copa Cabana Beach to witness for the first time one of the world’s most attended events: Carnival in Rio de Janeiro or as they call it: “Carnavau.”
The air was misty, humid, and deliciously enchanting. It was Summer in full swing in that part of the Western Hemisphere with temperatures reaching 40 degrees Celsius/104 Fahrenheit! Yes, it was HOT and the Bay of Rio was luminous as the Sun kissed the waters of the Atlantic and bathed in an Ocean of millions of spectators waiting for Carnavau to begin. The music was unbelievable, and Samba was naturally practiced in all corners of Rio.
I arrived a week before the event to get acquainted with the pre-festivities which seem to be as elaborate as the real thing, and oh, was it ever fun.
Everything stops once Carnivau beings. Even taxi drivers are hard to come by. Every industry in Rio is ceremoniously and proudly represented for the next ten days out of the year. And as soon as it is over, it begins all over again. They laboriously work for a better display of awesomeness for the next twelve months that follows. The intensity of their work and the results that are displayed after a year of hard work cannot fairly be articulated, unless you are right there, up close and personal. The pictures and videos are amazing, but the experience…..You have to be there!
The local Cariocas proudly display their ‘carrozas’ or floats in such a majestic way, that it is easy to decipher the sweat equity they have put into it. Remember, these parades go on for ten days and every industry is proudly represented, including Witchcraft! Ask any Carioca about “Macumba” and they’ll have a fascinating story to tell. Carioca women are notoriously famous for their natural beauty, and I must add, men are just as handsome.
I was particularly taken by their magnificent floats. No two are alike, and they are amazingly elaborate. A lot of work goes into it for less than fifteen minutes of fame and the “performers’ on the float, have to be on top of their game to be visible enough to be considered outstanding and win whatever prize is being offered at the time.
However, this is also a Masquerade party where everyone is who they want to be, but not necessarily who they really are. The amazing lengths that the participants go through, will leave you catching your breath and not sure, if you will ever understand why they will work so hard to not be who they are, or be who they are not.
The amalgam of color, tradition, religion, politics, and culture made me think of “What Defines You?”
While I watched the Carioca people of Rio de Janeiro have the time of their lives during one of the most important events of the year in that region of Brazil, I wonder why it was so important to masquerade?
Points to Ponder:
• What makes you who you are today?
• Who influenced you along the way?
• Would you choose a different way of being?
• Are you happy with who you are?
• Are you happy with who you have become?
• Does Money define you?
• Does family define you?
• Does cultural background define you?
• Do friends define you?
• Do possessions define you?
• What DOES define you?!
• Identify your quirkiness and write it down.
• Accept it is part of who you are. Celebrate it!
• Understand that what you thought was a negative, could very well be a positive.
• Welcome those who want to celebrate with you and make them part of your spiritual family.
• Create space for those who really love you, and allow them to join you.
• Acknowledge that you are never alone. There’s always someone or something that comes out of the clear blue-sky and you wonder how in the world they got there.
• Always be grateful.
• Magic happens when you allow it to happen. Don’t fight it, just join it.
Come back here and tell me: What does define you?
Ali R. Rodriguez
Life and Business Coach
See more at: http://AliRodriguez.com/Programs