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Rio’s Secret Underground Carnaval: “Bate-Bola” Groups

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Away from the limelight, media coverage and swarm of foreign tourists who descend on Rio de Janeiro during this time of year, a different sort of festival will take over the suburbs for four days starting Saturday, February 22nd. Dressed in satin gowns, the Bate-Bola groups, revered by thousands, are perceived by outsiders as the secret, underground Carnaval of the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City).

Although the ‘Bate-bolas’ are seen as an enigmatic and often violent celebration of Carnaval, many say that this is a distorted picture of the festivity.

“People have a totally wrong . . .

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