Isadora was a freshman with me at the University of Southern California. She is from Brazil, one of the traditions they celebrate there is Carnaval. It occurs from February to March. She starting telling us the story of Carnaval because it had just began in Brazil and she was criticizing how Americans dont have any such traditions that the entire country can participate it.
Isadora explained that besides New Years, Carnaval is the next biggest celebration in Brazil. She said that groups or collections of people come together and represent a team. A city can have many of these groups, for instance. Each group has a theme. Using their theme they make large animals and make and wear heavy ornate costumes. Then when all the teams are ready there is a huge competition. Each team dances down the street doing the Samba dance. They carry their animals and wear their costumes. They have to dance down the entire street while crowds of people watch from all sides. All the while each team/group is being judged. They are judged on their costumes, their theme, and their dancing. They are awarded points. For instance, if they do not reach the end of the street in a certain time period, points are deducted. In the end, the team with the most point wins.
I asked Isadora why Brazilians have this tradition. After I asked she looked at me puzzled and said she had no idea, and that it did not matter why or where it started but that is was BRAZILIAN. Brazilians have so much pride in their country, their people, their language, and their traditions. After many years of traditions, that eventually just turn into large parties the reason why the tradition was started is eventually forgotten. I found this extremely interesting, that to Isadora the reason for Carnaval was not important but that it brought her country together in a celebration.