Salvador City Council Votes to Ban Carnival on Ash Wednesday

Proposal still depends on mayor's sanction


The traditional Ash Wednesday festival, known as Arrastão, has been taking place for 24 years at the Salvador Carnival, but its days may be numbered.
Salvador's City Council approved on Wednesday (11) a bill that prohibits Carnival celebrations in Salvador from 5 am on Ash Wednesday. The proposal still depends on the sanction of the mayor ACM Neto (DEM) to become law.
The project, authored by Councilman Henrique Carballal (PV), is supported by a religious justification: he argues that by marking the beginning of Lent, Ash Wednesday cannot be dedicated to an unholy feast.
In the tradition of the Catholic Church, Lent — the 40-day period before Easter — must be dedicated to the protection.

Salvador's Carnival Crédito: Prefeitura de Salvador/Divulgação

"Carnival is a celebration linked to the ecclesiastical calendar. Stretching it to Ash Wednesday, in fact, is a denial of what Carnival is," he told Folha Carballal, which is linked to the Catholic Church.
The councilman argues that even though the state is secular, it is up to the government to recognize the Christian majority: "I am no religious fundamentalist, I like Carnival. But what was happening was an exaggeration."

Ash Wednesday arrastão was created in 1995 by Carlinhos Brown and has since become a tradition at Salvador's Carnival.
The parade takes place in the late morning of Ash Wednesday in the opposite direction to Carnival, following from Barra to Ondina. It is also usually shorter as the electric trios run at higher speeds.
Artists like Ivete Sangalo and Daniela Mercury have already paraded on Ash Wednesday. Last year, the party was led by singer Léo Santana and attracted thousands of revelers.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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