Paraty, Brazil, 14 February 2015. Alex Ribeiro/The Stand

Brazil’s Other, Dirty, Carnival

Alex Ribeiro

Paraty, Brazil. 14 February 2015

A small carnival in the town of Paraty, Brazil, 150 miles southwest of Rio de Janeiro, attracts hundreds of young people. They are drawn for a mud festival, or bloco, in the blue-black mud of Jabaquara Beach, which the indigenous people of the region believed to have medicinal properties.

Set to the beat of electronic rave music, in recent years the bloco has become popular as a fringe carnival, very different from Rio’s famous carnival. Revelers cover themselves with the thick mud, carry skulls, vines and bones, shouting “uga, uga, ha, ha!” and pretending to be a prehistoric tribe. They say the festival – the Bloco da Lama – serves to drive away evil spirits and attract joy to the Paraty Carnival.