Easter vs Páscoa: President compares traditions

Fat Tuesday in Brazil is a three day party says Bridges

Mary Stempky, Reporter

President Mr. Rob Bridges would describe Carnival, a Lenten Celebration in Brazil as a Catholic holiday where you have a party to say goodbye to some of the excess and enjoyments of life for forty days, to kind of mirror Jesus’ 40 days in the desert.

Bridges and his family lived in Brazil for five years, and he said that he has noticed more differences than similarities in how Lent and Easter are celebrated in Brazil and the United States.

“In the US, on Fat Tuesday, at least in Michigan, (people) eat big donuts, and in Brazil, (people) have a three day party,” Bridges said.

This three-day party is known as Carnival.

According to Bridges, Carnival culminates in a parade in a huge stadium.

The parade is a competition between certain Samba schools, consisting of 2,000 or 3,000 people who are evaluated on different aspects of their performance including costume and choreography.

“There are eight or nine different costume groups in (Samba) school,” Bridges said.

One year Bridges and his wife participated in Carnival.

According to Bridges, he and his wife, Marcia  were part of a Samba school in 1998 in the Carnival parade.

“Our group went on at about 3 in the morning,” Bridges said.

The year before, in 1997, Bridges’ parents visited Brazil and attended Carnival.

He said that his mother, Dorothy Bridges  was perplexed that all the participants in the parade did not have a stench.

“I remember her saying after one guy passed by  in a short sleeved shirt and was sweating so much ‘he’s supposed to smell bad, but he smells good,’” Bridges said.

Despite the extravagant parade that begins the season of Lent, Bridges said that Ash Wednesday is silent.

According to Bridges, he said that once the parade finishes on Ash Wednesday there is not much noise.

“There is all this quiet,” he said.

In Brazil, during the season of Lent, there are several fish dinners.“My wife’s mother made for the family, (and) still makes this great shrimp pasta,” Bridges said.

According to Bridges, on Easter Sunday, there are huge chocolate Easter eggs that are given to people. “(The eggs) are hollow and filled with chocolate,” Bridges said.

According to Bridges, in Brazil people get dressed up as they would on a wedding day. He said that one year he and his wife went in to the inland town of Oro Preto in the state of Minas Gerais and witnessed the way they celebrate the day.

“(The people) decorated the cobblestone streets (with) carpets (made of) spices, rocks and flowers, all symbolic (of) Easter,” Bridges said.

“On Easter morning there would be a procession over these carpets to church.”

These types of traditions are impossible to miss when visiting Brazil during the Easter holiday.

According to Bridges, when traveling to Brazil around Easter, one can no avoid the celebrations and traditions of the season.

Bridges said, “If the big Carnival is too much for you, there are mini versions that go around (Brazil) on the days leading up to Fat Tuesday.

“If you are in the city you have no choice (but to participate).”