By Beatriz Miranda, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, February 11th, Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel will close the first day of Grupo Especial’s parade at Carnival 2018. Expected to enter the Sambódromo at 3:45 AM (already on Monday), the samba school promises to amaze the jury and the audience with a vibrant samba enredo on India and its culture.

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After paying homage to Marrakesh in Carnival 2017, Mocidade Independente will be starring at the Sambódromo this year with a samba enredo about India, photo by Gabriel Monteiro/Riotur.

Different from the other samba schools, Mocidade was actually born from a local soccer club, the Independente Futebol Clube. It was in 1955 that eleven members of this soccer team decided to found Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel, one of the most important samba schools from Rio’s Zona Oeste. Apart from Mocidade, the neighborhood of Padre Miguel is also home for Unidos de Padre Miguel, a Second League’s samba school.

Having debuted in Rio’s carnival in 1956, with a samba enredo on “Navio Negreiro” (Slaveship), iconic poem by Brazilian writer Castro Alves, Mocidade officially starred at Grupo Especial in 1959, when the school’s bateria first presented its daring and unique “paradinha” – an unexpected “break” in the rhythmic cell of the samba school’s drums.

Eclectic, Mocidade has already brought to the “Avenida” (how Sambódromo is also called) the most creative themes, from the Rock in Rio music festival to Cervantes’ novel “Dom Quixote de La Mancha”.

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Mocidade is known in the Carnival universe for its unique “paradinha”, an unexpected break in the drums’ rhythmic cell, photo by Tata Barreto/Riotur.

Six times first placed in the Grupo Especial championship, Mocidade’s latest title was conquered last Carnival, with a samba enredo about Marrakesh. In 2017, exceptionally, LIESA (Grupo Especial’s League) considered both Mocidade and Portela samba schools as the big winners.

This Carnival, Mocidade enters the Sapucaí with “Namastê… A Estrela Que Habita em Mim Saúda a Que Existe em Você” (Namaste… The star inside me greets the star inside you), samba enredo paying tribute to India and the hindu mythology. The title alludes to the sanskrit word Namaste, which means “My soul recognizes your soul”.

Composed by Altay Veloso, Paulo César Feital, Zé Glória, J. Giovani, Denilson do Rozario, Carlinhos da Chácara, Alex Saraiça and Léo Peres, the lyrics invite the audience to a playful trip to the diverse Indian cultures. Besides the references to hindu symbols and deities, the samba will also reflect on the Indian influences on the Brazilian culture, from the culinary to Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

“Carnival is the very expression of the Brazilian culture. This homage by Mocidade shows how the relations between India and Brazil are getting stronger. It is a historical moment, and Mocidade will remain forever in the hearts of the Indian people,” says Leonardo Ananda, honorary consul general of India in Brazil, to the media outlet Carnavalesco.

Those interested in participating in Carnival 2018 still have the opportunity to walk on the Sambódromo with Mocidade samba school. In order to purchase one of the sixteen available costumes, one must contact the school. Email addresses and numbers can be found at Mocidade’s official website.

Be sure to stay with The Rio Times to learn more about the other competing schools, winners and additional events during this year’s Carnival.

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