Getting a kick out of Carnival


“To rodar a baiana (to spin the Bahian woman) is Brazilian slang attributed to the Northeast. It means to “go bananas”, “to lose control” or “to make a scene” (similar to the phrase “fazer barraco”).

When someone threatens someone else with the phrase “pare com isso ou eu vou rodar a baiana” (stop that or I’m going to rodar a baiana), a smart person would stop right then and there – or, at least, be careful, otherwise the threat could become a public scandal.

Differently than it may seem, this expression isn’t related to Bahia, but rather to Rio de Janeiro. That’s because, at the start of the 20th century, the region was the stage of famous Carnival parades, where baianas were the main attraction.

In the midst of these blocos, some guys would pinch the girls, and to stop this from happening, some capoeira players would dress up like baianas, and at the first sign of disrespect, they’d use their capoeira moves. The people that watched the parades didn’t catch on at all: they only saw the baiana rodar.” – Source (PT)


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