Each city in Brazil celebrates its own unique Carnival. In many smaller cities, people gather in social clubs, in the streets, and at parties. Many cities hold parades and other community events. Each Carnival reflects the diverse cultures of Brazil. Therefore, Carnival in the north may be completely different from Carnival in the south. Regardless of where you decide to put your endurance to the test, and see just how much festivity you can possibly sustain, you are guaranteed to have an all around unforgettable experience!

Carnival in Rio


Carnival is Rio's biggest event. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. The  festivities attract millions of people from all corners of the world. Carnaval, as spelled in Portuguese, is a 4-day celebration, starting on Saturday, and ending on Fat Tuesday (Mardi-Gras). The dates change every year, it is 40 days before the Lent, a Catholic holiday.

The Parade: The Samba School Parade at Rio´s Sambodrome is something everybody has to experience at least once in life. Unlike Street Carnival, the Samba Parade is not free. Tickets are actually quite expensive, but more than worth the investment. The schools are divided into 2 groups, the Special (first league) and the Access (second league). Each year two schools will go down from Special to Access, and vice-versa. This samba marathon is also a fierce competition. The parades start at 9 p.m. and go on until sunlight the next day, around 6 a.m. On Friday and Saturday, the Access ones make their perform, seven schools per night. On Sunday and Monday, it is the Special group perform, with six schools per night. There is also one extra parade on the following Saturday after Carnival, when the winners perform again.

Street Parties: Carnival is something that comes deep from the fun-loving Carioca soul. It does not depend on any authority or sponsor to happen. Carnival in the streets is a living proof of this. You are welcome to participate, and it is free! Each neighborhood in Rio has its favorite Bandas (bun-dush) or Blocos (blo-cush). They consist of an orchestra marching along a pre-determined route, followed by hordes of enthusiastic samba dancers dressed in costumes, bathing suits, plain clothes, and even in drag. Street Carnival is loads of fun, free, and it happens all over the city. You are more than welcome to watch and participate. The most traditional and big street bands can attract up to 300,000 people per parade!

Carnival in Salvador

Experience the thrill of the biggest carnival party in Bahia! Contrary to Rio Carnival where the schools of samba parade, in Salvador YOU will be among the Parade, surrounded by 2 million people from all over the world. All you need is to buy a Costume or Abadá (which is a T-shirt that identify your group). If Music and Dancing is your passion, Carnival in Salvador is your paradise. Smile, Love, Happiness and No Stress are the rules! The magic of the music will keep your body moving as you party non-stop!

Trios Elétricos: introduced in 1950, they are are large huge trucks with many speakers, rumbling loudly, carrying the band and singers of the “blocos”.

Blocos: are thousands of people wearing simple tunic costumes "abadás" who are well protected from the surging masses of spectator participants by security people holding rope barriers. You can be part of a bloco, and you just buy a costume.

Afoxés: a group, which sings and dances in praise to the Candomblé divinities or orixás.

Carnival in Olinda

Along with Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Olinda has one of three most attended carnivals in Brazil. In Olinda, no place is closed: the partiers take every street and every corner in the historic center; the residents organize their own blocks, play their own music, and follow their own paths. The city government provides the infrastructure (transportation, security, marketing), and people do the rest. The Giant Puppets are an attraction by themselves. Made in papier-mache, dozens of these huge figures (up to 5 meters or 15 feet) parade along the streets every year. The most famous puppet is the Homem da Meia-Noite (Man of Midnight) who, since 1932, at midnight of the Saturday, officially starts the carnival in Olinda; siding the Man, a multitude of rhythms, including frevo, afoxés, caboclinhos and maracatus.

Frevo: a creation of Recife carnival, frevo, as a kind of music, has its origins in the repertoires of the military bands in the second half of the 19th century, in Recife.

Afoxé: In Pernambuco, afoxé reappeared with the Negro Unification Movement at the end of the 70's, as a way of reaching the majority of the population to amplify the debate on awareness through music.

Caboclinhos: the word in Portuguese to designate the offspring of marriages between Blacks and Indians.

Maracatu: in the form that it is known today, has its origins in the old institution of the Black Kings, already well known in France and Spain in the 15th century and in Portugal as from the 16th century

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