To be part of a samba school is very important in the local culture. As soon as the theme of the carnival is announced, every school gets to work. The costumes need to be designed and made, the song needs to be written, the music found, and the dance steps rehearsed. Each participant pays for his or her own costume and is expected to be at all of the rehearsals which start in autumn. Participants sacrifice their time and money but no one ever complains when there is such a huge party at the end of it all!