Mardi Gras mask and beads (123 RF)
Happy Mardi Gras! Known in English as Fat Tuesday (and just in time for National Condom Week), today celebrates casting off repression, upending social norms and indulging in vices before the Christian season of Lent begins (when enjoying all earthly pleasures ceases for 40 days). Much like Halloween, masks and costumes, dancing and lust in the air figure prominently.
Brazil has made Carnival an international destination, and it’s legendary for a reason. Several cities throw parades, led by various samba schools. Many foreigners fly in for the multi-day party (spanning the Friday before to Ash Wednesday at noon), making Carnival the country’s biggest tourism booster.
Naturally, when the shackles of convention are thrown aside, a lot more spontaneous sex occurs (because when in Rio…). But the Brazilian government is always prepared for this: they give out free condoms.
This year, they’ll hand out 70M condoms throughout the country. They’ve done this for years, handing out 65M in 2009, 55M in 2010, 89M in 2011, 3M in 2012, 73M in 2013 and 104M in 2014.
For visual learners, here’s a decade-long progression in line-graph form:
Brazil’s Condom Distribution during Carnival, 2005-2015
As you can see, the number of condoms distributed during Carnival has tended to baseline around 70-75M in recent years (aside from 2012, whose 3M looks incorrect, to say the least).
Last year, the Brazilian government estimated that 2M+ people were on the streets at any given time during Carnival. Surely attendees can find at least one person to hook up with during the popular “blocos” (street-wide parties).