Samba and Caipirinhas: AIT Celebrates Brazilian Carnaval Virtually

COVID-19 proved no barrier to Brazilian students and friends at Athlone Institute of Technology (AIT), who arranged to celebrate Carnaval – their country’s traditional festival - by Zoom. 

More than 50 participants logged in from their homes and student apartments to participate in the virtual displays of music and dancing. They also shared recipes for traditional Brazilian dishes and showed videos of how to prepare many traditional dishes and drinks from their regions in Brazil.

“The show started with a display of how Brazilians celebrate Carnaval in different cities in Brazil, a quiz and then a display of music and dance. Participants were encouraged to submit answers during the virtual quiz showing their knowledge of Brazil and prizes were awarded," Karl Turley, Deputy Director of International Relations at AIT, explained. 

The Brazilian students prepared a video guide to Samba dancing in the weeks leading up to Carnaval and the judging panel from AIT: Elsie Burgoyne and Caroline Coyle, both lecturers at the Department of Social Science, AIT;  Áine Daly, AITSU President; Fr. Shay Casey, AIT Chaplain; and Evelyn Bonifacio, a Samba expert, had a tough job separating the contestants.

There are more than 20 Brazilian students studying at AIT, with many undertaking PhD programmes across the institute's Bioscience Research Institute, Materials Research Institute and Software Research Institute.

Carnaval is traditionally celebrated at the start of Lent and coincides with the Christian tradition of having a feast before a period of fasting commences.

More examples of Brazilian culture can be viewed on YouTube.

Athlone Institute of Technology is a research-led third-level institute with an applied, industry-focused offering, world-class research and development capabilities, and state-of-the-art facilities. Winner of The Sunday Times Institute of the Year 2020 and 2018, AIT is Ireland’s top-ranked institute of technology and is on track to open its doors as the country’s third technological university in September 2021. AIT tops Ireland’s official league table for research and was listed in U-Multirank’s Top 25 Performing Universities in the World for Interdisciplinary Research in 2018 and 2019. For information relating to the institute’s undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, visit

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