The largest Carnival in Brazil is in Rio de Janeiro and is considered to be the largest carnival anywhere in the world. Like other Catholic carnivals, the festive celebrations are before Lent. Come to Rio de Janeiro on these days and one will be greeted with the streets thronging with floats, revelers, and all manner of adornments.

This is has been a tradition since 1723 is one of the spectacular festivals anyone can see in the world. This is a time to see Rio and the nation celebrating with the electric energy of life and is something everyone should see at least once! See here for food festivals in the United States.


About The Carnival

  • Number Of People: 2 Million (Rio Carnival Alone)

The carnival is celebrated annually five days before Ash Wednesday and is one of the most eventful days in Brazil. The carnival is a great illustration of the Afro-European influences in creating the Brazilian culture. During the carnival the energy of the nation is palpable.

The Rio Carnival has its roots in elaborate feasts to honor the Greek wine gods. The festival as it is known now was first introduced by the Portuguese but it wasn't until 1840 that the first Rio masquerade took place. It was the Africans that included the introduction of the Samba music in 1917 and the carnival took on its modern Brazilian form.

  • Cancellations: The Carnival Has Been Cancelled During Both World Wars And During The COVID-19 Pandemic in 2021

The Samba Schools

The most elaborate decorations are designed by Rio's different samba schools. These are sophisticated facilities that imagine and create flamboyant and stunning flashy costumes, uplifting dances moves, and enormous floats that widen the eyes of any spectator.

The schools emphasize the importance and diversity of Brazilian culture across the nation and to all of the world. They are also great employment opportunities for local artists having been sponsored by large companies.

  • Number Of Samba Schools: Over 200 In Rio Alone

The samba schools get to perform their art in front of millions and they parade through the purpose-built iconic Sambodromo. It is phenomenal how much effort and thought is put into each dance step, the selection of dancers, and the choice of songs. As they parade, they parade past a panel of around 40 judges who note every nuance of the movements, the detail of the costumes, and the significance of the songs. The champion is declared on Ash Wednesday.

Order Of Parade Entries

Every Samba school must follow a special order with designing their parades. First comes the "comissão de frente" or "Front Commission" this forward group is composed of 10 to 15 people. They are to introduce the school and to set the mood for the style of the following parade. They wear characteristic elaborate costumes and have carefully choreographed dances that tell a short story.

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Next comes the first float, the "abre-alas" or "Opening Wing". Then are the "Mestre-sala" "Master of Ceremonies" and the "Porta-Bandeira" "Flag Bearer", these lead the dancers. Following in the rear are normally the drummers.

In the past, the top samba schools would go around the streets of Rio performing the samba. Today the top samba schools parade through the Sambodromo.

  • Capacity: Capacity of The Sambodromo 80,000 Visitors And 5,000 Participants

Attending The Rio Carnival

Currently, the nest Carnival is still scheduled to go ahead next year in 2022. To book tickets to the Sambodromo and see the best of the performances book here.

  • Price Of Tickets: $24.00 to $294.00 Depending On The Seat Chosen
  • Date Of The Next Carnival: 25th-28th February and 5th March 2022

Related: 20 Things Nobody Tells Us Before Visiting Rio That We All Need To Know

One doesn't need to go to the Sambadrome to see the Rio Carnaval. It is a celebration happening all over the city and the country. There are balls being simultaneously being held in the Copacabana Palace and on the beach. And there are street festivals happening everywhere by the locals. These street celebrations are generally without the elegance and extravagance seen in the Sambadrome, but they are still electric and infused with life and energy and are characterized by music and dancing.

One of the more exciting aspects of the street festivals is the Bandas as to join the fun one just needs to jump right on in. One of the most famous of these bands is the Banda de Ipanema - caution about taking the family there as it is also known as Rio's most irreverent street band.

But wherever one goes to see the festivities rocking the city and bringing the place to life with immeasurable energy, there is always dancing and music. These are integral to every aspect of the Rio carnival.

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