September 1, 2012 | Portuguese
Today was Lavagem da Rua 46, which translates as "Cleansing of 46th Street."
Little Brazil in New York City is little. It lies on 46th Street between 5th and 6th avenues, and there are on this particular block enough other languages/countries represented in the retail establishments that in the past, when walking down this street, I have not actually noticed the Brazilian aspect of it.
Today I paid more attention, but still, I can see how it would be easy to miss.
Via Brasil Restaurant, Little Brazil
More Brazilian Restaurants
Buzios Boutique, with Swimwear
I was impressed by Buzios Boutique’s signage, which committed to “Swimwear 365 Days a Year.”
I am still not entirely clear on the nature of this event, but it is produced by Silvana Magda’s Viva Brazil Dance Company.
Here’s a quote from Ms. Magda off of the event website: “The Cleansing of the 46th Street embraces the responsibility to help expand the Brazilian culture in the world’s capital. We are fully involved in this project to maintain our traditions and promote our artists who of course, also have the particular responsibility of strengthening the positive image of Brazil abroad.”
I missed the morning parade, but came to take a look at the afternoon festivities, which at first I couldn’t find because they were actually a block east of Little Brazil.
When I tracked them down, one thing that struck me about these pre-Brazilian Day in New York festivities was wow, I really know next to nothing about Brazil. Though the unfamiliar things may or may not have been representative of Brazilian culture; I can’t be sure.
Anyway, I didn’t know what was going on with the clothes (multiple women all in white) or what appeared to be a cleansing ritual involving a man in a turban waving a steaming something or other over and around young women’s bodies.
The First Thing I Saw When I Arrived
The Second Thing I Saw (Look Closely)
Now back at home, I have read online that the cleansing aspect of this event has historical religious associations, though I found the description rather confusing.
In the moment, what struck me more was the joy of the performers, including a percussion group called Batala, and the dancing attendees. It was loud, it was hot, and it was fun. Not the most fun ever, but fun nonetheless. It was also one of the most documented events I have seen (tons of cameras everywhere).
Brazilian Performers on Stage
This Singer in Yellow Pants Had Amazing Energy
So Did the Dancers
Lots of Movement
Drummers from a Group Called Batala
A Batala Drum
Woman in White
I did pretty well in understanding the Portuguese of the announcers. It was not a setting terribly conducive to in-depth conversation, or really any conversation at all (because of the volume), so my conversational skills remained unexercised.
However, my not very flexible hips did move a bit, so I feel I got something out of it. I love to dance, and I do have reasonable rhythm, I think it is fair to say, but I do not have the flexible-hips thing going for me. Thirty years of running and a non-loose-hip cultural tradition have ensured that.
I am willing to work on it, but I doubt that aspect of Brazilian culture would go as well as the grammar.