Abstract

This article examines the pre-Lenten festivities labeled entrudo in early nineteenth-century Rio de Janeiro and traces the efforts to repress them, which enjoyed a measure of success by the mid-1850s. During this period, the predominant form of pre-Lenten revelry involved various forms of water play that transgressed the boundaries between the sexes but tended to respect other social hierarchies. After independence, authorities and members of a self-proclaimed “civilized” elite sought to repress what they condemned as a “barbarous” game. These efforts obtained some success in the 1840s and 1850s as masked balls and parading by elite carnival societies came to dominate middle- and upper-class forms of celebration, although entrudo persisted longer among the lower classes. Based on travelers' accounts and the extensive newspaper debates about entrudo and its repression, this article analyzes a major cultural change among the Brazilian capital's elite.

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