What Do The Carnival Colors Mean? Brazil’s Tradition Was At The Heart Of Rio’s Opening Ceremony

There's so much pomp and circumstance injected into the 2016 Summer Olympic opening ceremony, it's easy to forget that this isn't the only time of the year Brazil has a massive celebration. That's right, I'm talking about Carnival, the single greatest party that everyone (including you!) should be putting on their bucket lists. We got just a taste of this during the opening ceremony, enough to make it clear that the colors of Carnival are just as fascinating as the celebration itself. How do you manage to make the biggest statement at Carnival? It's all about color, color, color.

Amidst all the music, dancing and celebrating taking place in the streets, you'll notice that the ways in which color is used is important to those celebrating. And what makes Carnival so special? Not only is it a time to come together with your fellow man, but it is a time to really squeeze in all the hedonism you can before you embark upon the Lenten season (for those that observe it). It is about Brazilians joining in a festival representative of national pride. It is about representing your community as well as your nation. So whether you're prepping for Lent or simply looking to have an unforgettably wild time, Carnival is the place to do it.

Color may merely be a pathway to the exuberantly creative expression of those participating, but it is deeply meaningful. Which colors takes precedence at Carnival depend on one key ingredient: Samba schools. Each school represents a tight-knight group from a specific neighborhood or favela, defined by their own costumes, dances and lifestyles. Samba schools are an important part of Carnival not only because they represent the individual communities, but when they come together, they create a cultural tapestry that is uniquely Brazil.

We got to see a lot of Brazilian culture on display during the ceremony, but nothing, for me, was quite as vibrant and lively as this small display of what Carnival has to offer. The lights, the dancing, the music, and, most importantly, the color all combined to completely blow my mind. Job well done, Rio Olympics. Job well done.