The largest Carnival bloco in the world is said to be in Recife and you can find it on Saturday during the week of Carnival in the central neighborhood of São José. It goes by the name of the Galo da Madrugada (The Early Morning Rooster) and it’s pretty hard to miss, just find the giant shiny rooster towering above thousands of people. If you’re more of an observer, perhaps you can find a seafaring local to let you board their boat to watch from the sidelines on the Capibaribe River. However, it’s wise to be aware of what you’ll be missing out on.
The passo is the dance of the frevo, an accelerated polka-like dance best associated with Recife’s Carnival. While there’s no fighting involved in the modern-day frevo-de-rua, its origins point back to the time when knife-carrying capoeiristas traded fighting for dancing and knives for umbrellas. The frevo then spent an entire century marinating under the Pernambucan sun and eventually amalgamating with other styles such as the maxixe, the marcha and elements of capoeira.
If you find luck on your side and end up in Recife during Carnival this year, welcome the weekend with a different kind of rooster and let the frevo give you fervor…which should be easy enough since the two words are related.
Originally written for Street Smart Brazil.