It's ABC Wednesday, and C for me is for Carioca.
In Brazil, those born in Rio de Janeiro City are called Cariocas. I'm carioca, born on June, 06, 1969 in Vila Isabelneighborhood, famous for also being the birthplace of Noel Rosa, a songwriter who composed beautiful sambas during the first half of last century.
Just not to be misunderstood, I don't think that Cariocas are better than people born in other cities. It's simply that in this case I can only talk about what I know. So I'll talk about people born in Rio, and how they react to their environment. Of course, it's not an established pattern - attitudes and tastes will vary immensely in such a big metropolis, but in general if you are from Rio, there's a great chance that you will like the sun, enjoy being part of crowds when live music is the subject, and your feet will be moving in rhythm whenever good music is played.
Cariocas usually love Nature - living in a city with an exuberant flora and exquisite mountains certainly helps on this. There are places along the beaches in Rio where people will spontaneously applaud the sunset, simply because it's such a gorgeous thing to watch. The Arpoador rocks are a wonderful spot to enjoy this special time of the day.
They will prefer open spaces, especially on Summer time, when the heat is high and no matter where you are, you'll breathe in warm gulfs of air. The beaches get unbelievably crowded by sun lovers, the hot sand burning bare feet, lines and lines of colorful sunshades covering every inch of space available, a wild cacophony of children playing, sellers walking around screaming their products, friends chatting while laying on their beach towels getting a brown tan, beach volleyball players cursing bad catches.
Cariocas love beer. Tons are drank per capita every year, and any reason is a good reason to drink a super cold beer: to celebrate a baby’s birth, to mourn a dear one’s death, to close the evening after work, during a soccer game, on birthday parties, on the streets, at home, at the beach, in cars. In Brazil you’re allowed to drink while walking in the streets, and sometimes you see people holding a can of beer on the way back home. Caipirinhas are also very popular drinks, made with cachaça (sugar cane hard liquor, lemon, sugar and ice cubes), and are also delicious - my favorite beverage after cerveja.
Soccer is a passion for most cariocas. There are four main soccer teams in Rio, and when they play, it’s always an event. Local and national championships are taken very seriously by supporters, and they go to the stadiums and cheer for their teams as if their lives depended on the results, and every goal is celebrated with such energy and enthusiasm that can be heard miles away from the place. Unfortunately, it’s more and more common to see organized cheer groups being increasingly violent against the opponents, and furious, ridiculous fights after important games happen more often than I would like to know about. But the passion for their teams have a healthier side that shows up when they bring their soccer flags and simply focus on the game, chanting choirs and having a good time.
And of course, cariocas love music. Along the year, hundreds of concerts take place in the city. Rock, bossa nova, samba, popular Brazilian music, pagode... There’s a huge variety of music going on, local and from abroad. Many times, stages are built at Copacabana beach for free concerts, and crowds peacefully gather to sing along, dance and celebrate their favorite artists. Samba is a chapter apart, since it’s a big subject for cariocas, almost as powerful as soccer. There are Samba School groups that perform and compete at the huge annual Carnival parade, and people root for their favorite Schools to win. It’s a wonderful event known worldwide (ironically, I’ve never watched it live), and that lasts two nights long.
In general willing to help others, having a good, positive mood, an easy-going way of living their life while working hard to bring food to their families. They never give up hope and humor, and face the daily challenges with their chin up and a song in their heads, most times. It’s a colorful community, a beautiful mix of heritages and backgrounds that enriches the city. Summing up, I like being a Carioca Witch, even if not living in the city any longer - the spirit remains the same. ;)
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