Wondering what a trio elétrico is or why popcorn (pipoca) is an indispensable part of Salvador carnaval? Then read on below for a list of the most commonly used terms so you can navigate Salvador’s carnaval with confidence.

As with most large gatherings right now, the fate of Salvador's carnival 2022 is currently unknown. The mayor's office is trying to make it happen, but a lot of it is out of his hands.

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  • Abadá — Originally a term used for capoeira uniforms, this term refers to the shirt that carnaval revelers use to gain access to a camarote or a bloco. It is often used interchangeable with the word fantasia, but is slightly different.
  • Afoxé — The term refers to a bloco that plays only the Ijexa candomblé rhythm. Filhos de Gandhy is the oldest and most well-known afoxé in Bahia.
  • Afro Bloco — The traditional afro-descendent carnaval blocos, including Ilê Aiyê, Olodum, Filhos de Gandhy, Muzenza, Male Debalê, and Cortejo Afro.
  • Avenida — Literally means “Avenue,” but in the context of carnaval refers to Avenida Sete de Setembro, the main road through Campo Grande where the Campo Grande circuit runs.
  • Barra-Ondina — Barra and Ondina are the names of two neighborhoods on the Atlantic side Salvador and it is also the name of the highest end and most popular carnaval circuit as the circuit runs from the Farol in Barra to the middle of Ondina.
  • Batatinha — A famous samba composer and singer and also the official name of the Pelourinho carnaval circuit.
  • Bloco — The general name given to a group, band, or artist that is performing on a carnaval circuit.
  • Camarote — Paid viewing stand where you can watch carnaval groups go by. Prices range from a coupe dozen reais to thousands per day depending upon the date, location, and amenities.
  • Campo Grande — A neighborhood near the historic center of Salvador that also hosts the most traditional carnaval circuit in Salvador.
  • Circuito — Carnaval routes are referred to as circuits, or circuitos in Brazilian Portuguese. 
  • Corda — When you are part of a bloco for carnaval you get to be inside the cord (or corda, in Portuguese). Heavy cords, carried by dozens of workers, surround a trio elétrico, giving the trio and the people inside the cords a bit of space to move. The only way inside the cord is with your fantasia.
  • Dodô — One of the co-creators of the trio elétrico and the official name of the Barra-Ondina carnaval circuit.
  • Fantasia — The word literally translates to “costume”, and is used to specify specific costume that you must wear to walk as a part of a bloco. This word is often used interchangeably with abadá, but they are not the same.
  • Osmar — One of the co-creators of the trio elétrico and the official name of the Campo Grande carnaval circuit.
  • Pelourinho — The historic center of Salvador and also where one of the three main carnaval circuits lies.
  • Pipoca — Literally means “popcorn,” but in the context of carnaval refers to people who watch carnaval on the street, outside the cords. They get the name because when a big name comes by they can be seen jumping up and down, like popcorn popping, to see the band and dance along with a hit.
  • Sem Corda — A new movement within Salvador carnaval to make closer access to big-name blocos on trio elétricos (e.g., Daniela Mercury, Olodum) possible even for those that don’t have the financial means to buy fantasia.
  • Trio Elétrico — Referred to as “trio” for short, a trio elétrico is a large, moving sound stage that resembles a converted semi-trailer and truck. The band/artist plays on top and inside contains dressing rooms, bathrooms, food, drink, etc.

Looking for some help planning your Salvador carnaval experience? We can help you with everything from buying tickets to planning your entire trip. Discover our exclusive Salvador Carnaval concierge services.

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