Entrudo: Entry into Spring


Lent has begun and Carnaval is past. The origins of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro are European but havebeen embellished by the traditions of Portugal’s other former colonies. Going back toancient Greece and the pagan festival of Dionysus, the god of wine, both master and slave would transform themselves by exchanging clothes. They would celebrate the end of winter with wine, food, dance and sex. This evolved into Portugal’s and Brazil’spre-lent festival entrudo or "Entry into Spring". The wealthy would throw fragrant lemons at each other Entrudo Familiar, while the slaves and poor would use dirty water, flour and eggs, Entrudo Popular. In the nineteenth century elements of French and Venetian Carnival were imported to discourage entrudo and separate Brazil from its colonial past. Incorporating costumes and masks, wealthy and poor revelers danced to European waltzes until thesamba developed: a combination of Angolan semba, Cape Verdean batuques,European polka and Cuban habanera. Carnaval in Rio was immortalized by Marcel Camus' 1959 film Black Orpheus or Orfeu Negro. The somber panel is from Nuno Gonçalves' polyptych The Adoration of Saint Vincent showing The Prince. The five additional panels represent the other important elements of fifteenth century Portuguese society; clergy and the common man.