Carnival is a joke. But it is also serious. After all, it is not easy to organize the mess that, at the same time, is the tradition and the libertarian essence of carnival. In terms of tradition, no samba school in the federal capital can match the Associação Recreativa Cultural Unidos do Cruzeiro, ARUC. The school holds over 30 titles, eight consecutive from 1986 to 1993.
And today (19) is another event that marks the tradition of Aruc, the parade that, historically, the school puts on every Carnival Sunday for its community, before the main parade with the other samba schools on the avenue.
“It is in it that we present a plot, allegories, drums, master of ceremonies and flag bearers, in addition to dancers, highlights and wings for people who cannot always follow our parade on the avenue”, explained to Agência Brasil, the carnival director of the Aruc, Cleuber Oliveira.
Revelers await the Aruc parade – Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil
In this 2023 edition, the samba school parades will not take place in February, but between the 20th and 21st of April, the date on which Brasília celebrates its birthday.
The change of dates, however, does not apply to the traditional parade that is held for the community of Cruzeiro, a neighborhood located near Plano Piloto. Everything was in place in the early afternoon for the journey of a few kilometers to Feira do Cruzeiro, where the samba school always meets the also traditional block Gagá…Vião.
Samba, beer and football
Bloco and samba school have a joint history of friends who love football, beer and, of course, samba.
Director Cleuber Oliveira’s first steps at Aruc weren’t exactly samba. “It was at the sports activities promoted by the association”, recalls the principal, who later joined the school’s battery.
This passion for the three elements (samba, beer and football) is almost unanimous among the “old guard” of Cruzeiro, as explained by the president of the Gagá…Vião block, Gildo Seixas, 59 years old.
“Our block values keeping the tradition with the old people here in Cruzeiro, which, everyone knows, is the most carioca neighborhood in Brasília. We always keep the old gang together at this and other events. The meetings always involve samba, football and beer”, says the president of the block, who is also a football teacher and former futsal player.
According to him, Aruc is “the life of carnival and football in the city”, since it was there that many of the neighborhood’s stars were formed. “One of the members of our group was even a goalkeeper for Fluminense and the Brazilian national team,” he said, referring to goalkeeper Paulo Victor.
Zeca Pagodinho from Brasilia – Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil
Another personality from the neighborhood, who is part of this select group of friends, is the servant of the Secretary of Health, musician and event producer Gilberto Grillo, a reveler who spends the whole year living the fantasy of the character “Zeca Pagodinho de Brasília”.
The nickname he carries since childhood, when he already looked like the idol. “I had that Chitãozinho & Chororó hair that Zeca used at the time”, recalls the creator of the Brasilia version of the Rio pagodeiro.
“I spend the whole year dressed as Zeca Pagodinho. And, at Carnival, I fantasize about who I am all year round, in real life”, says the musician, who plays tambourine in the group Força Maior Bsb. During the interview granted to Agência Brasil, some of Zeca’s friends from Brasília confirmed that all the clothes he wears on a daily basis are chosen having, as a reference, the original carioca.
The character from Brasilia, however, makes a point of pointing out a difference: “The other is from Botafogo and likes Brahma. I’m tricolor and I drink Skol”, he jokes.
Wearing an Aruc shirt, while waiting for the arrival of the Aruc samba school in the space set up by the Gagá…Vião block, nanny Célia Regina Fernandes said that the mix of these two carnival entities from Cruzeiro helps her to further enhance her great passions .
“This shirt I’m wearing represents my identity. Samba and Carnaval are very important elements in my life. Samba is all year round, and Carnaval is the climax of it all. And this mixture of the Gagá…Vião block with Aruc represents, for me, twice as much love”, explained the nanny.