By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This Saturday, December 1st and Sunday, December 2nd, people all over the ‘Cidade Maravilhosa’ will celebrate the 102nd ‘Dia Nacional do Samba’ (National Day of Samba) with live performances and parties throughout the weekend.
On Saturday, the artistic neighborhood of Santa Teresa will be hosting their classic ‘Samba dos Guimarães’ featuring special guests Samba do Xoxó. Located in the famous ‘Largo dos Guimarães’ where all the best samba circles of Santa Teresa convene, this is set to be a particularly upbeat way to celebrate the night before the National Day of Samba.
Tickets for this event are between R$15-R$25 and it should kick off at around 7:30PM, with plenty of local and traditional street food such as tapioca pancakes and ‘pastéis’ (filled pastries) to keep everyone in good spirits throughout the night.
The biggest event taking place this Sunday, December 2nd, will be at the ‘Feira Popular da Glória’ (Glória People’s Fair) near to the iconic Aterro do Flamengo and Marina da Glória. This party will include three of the largest ‘rodas de samba’ (samba circles) Gloriosa Roda de Samba, Sambastião, and Pagode do Time de Crioulo.
This free event starts at 3PM and is set to be a very family-friendly affair, with plenty of food and drink on offer, as well as a play area for children. Expect plenty of special guests and surprises along the way.
Another free event for Sunday day is the cultural and more educational celebration hosted by the ‘Confraria Gambito De Ouro’. Taking place in the Casa do Nando at the heart of Rio’s samba neighborhood of Saúde, this free event will begin at 11AM.
There will be samba documentaries playing, a discussion about samba as well as a live samba circle. This event will also be serving the traditional Brazilian dish of feijoada for only R$15.
On Sunday evening, from 6PM onward, there’s a chance to extend the weekend’s celebrations with ‘Sunset Samba,’ taking place at the southern tip of Santos Dumont airport, near the Marina da Glória.
This open-air event costs between R$20-R$35 and promises live music from Samba Black followed by a DJ set from DJ João Rodrigo, all framed with incredible views of the Guanabara Bay, ‘Cristo Redentor’ (Christ the Redeemer), and ‘Pão de Açúcar’ (Sugar Loaf Mountain).
For those headed to Rio’s party district of Lapa, also known as one of the historical centers of samba, there will be a special samba celebration on Sunday evening at the traditional Beco do Rato bar. This event will get going at 5PM, costs between R$15-R$20, and will feature live music courtesy of Moyseis Marques.
Beco do Rato is famous for putting on top-quality evenings of live Brazilian music in an intimate and lively setting, while also offering good food and reasonably-priced drinks.
December 2nd is marked on the Brazilian calendar as the official National Day of Samba, though its origins are unknown.
It falls close to November 27th, when the first official ‘samba’ song was registered at Brazil’s ‘Biblioteca Nacional’ (National Library), ‘Pelo Telephone’ by Rio ‘sambista’ Donga.
It is also thought that this day was originally chosen to honor the first visit of early samba composer Ary Barroso to Salvador, and then gained national popularity.