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Your Guide to the Iconic Cultural Celebration of CARNIVAL IN BRAZIL: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS EVENT in a Nutshell
What are the similarities between Mardi Gras, Venetian masks, and large parades? Carnival.

People all around the world are enchanted by this large, vibrant celebration, which is observed in a wide variety of ways.

Brazil is the country where Carnival is most passionately and widely observed. Carnival is Brazil’s biggest celebration of the year, taking place from the north to the south of the nation. It’s a day off from work, so you may listen to music, dance, and have a party for days.

Here is all the information you need to know about Brazilian Carnival, including the best ways for tourists to take part in it.

Why Do Brazilians Celebrate Carnival?

Catholics celebrate Carnival every year just before Lent. It is a large celebration of the foods and pleasures that one must forgo during Lent, similar to Mardi Gras and other Carnivals from across the world.

Brazil plans its Carnival celebrations months in advance because it is such a big event there.

The celebrations take place in February and March, which is the height of Brazil’s summer, thus the setting is ideal for large-scale gatherings. Even the Brazilian proverb “the year starts only after Carnival”—which is a national holiday—refers to the number of individuals who take vacation time between New Year’s and Carnival.

You’ll notice it when you go: the bars and beaches are typically crowded at this time. Some businesses just don’t open or operate with limited hours. The entire nation appears to slow down as it prepares for the impending magical moment.

What time is Carnival?

Carnival lasts from the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday to the beginning of Lent. Like Easter, Carnival’s official dates change every year.

The escolas da samba (“samba schools”) in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are probably the most well-known aspects of Carnival, and these attract tourists from around the globe. 

In both cities, outstanding parades are held in Sambadromes, which are essentially entire arenas built especially for these massive parades. For four nights, various samba schools perform with well-decorated floats and thousands of dancers wearing elaborate costumes. These are accompanied by musicians playing lively drum sections. And they happen all night long. 

Roadside Carnival

Beyond the Sambadrome, Brazilian Carnival is incredibly beautiful.

Blocos (“blocks,” as in “block parties”), specialized organizations that organize street parties across the nation, provide a range of possibilities for celebrating, not just with samba but with a variety of music genres. Reggae, MPB, axé, and frevo (these last two genres represent a synthesis of typical Brazilian rhythms coupled with African elements) may be mixed in with traditional Brazilian Carnival marching music.

Frequently, a dedicated truck carrying a band that hosts the celebration and has speakers and a stage will be seen. These “trios elétricos” perform live concerts for passersby as they go through the streets. In areas like Bahia and Pernambuco in the northeast, they are particularly well-liked.

Where Can I Find the Best Carnival Experience in Brazil?
The entire country of Brazil, from the north to the south, hosts fascinating Carnival events. Even though the country-wide features of Carnival are music, dancing, and stunning costumes, the celebration actually varies depending on where you are.

The Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Rio hosts one of the nation’s most well-known Carnivals.

It’s immense, and the entire city becomes one big celebration. It can become quite frenzied and, for some, overwhelming.

Rio is a wonderful option if you’re seeking for nonstop partying. You might select a different city if you want something a little less intense.

Brazil’s Carnival

Similar to Rio, So Paulo has a sizable Carnival. Although it may not be as well known outside of Brazil, it is nonetheless really good. Be ready for days filled with luxury and grandeur.

So Paulo is not a seaside city, despite the fact that its Carnival is wonderful by any standard. This isn’t the city for you if you want to unwind after dancing with some quiet time at the beach. Go to Rio, Salvador, or Recife instead.

Olinda and Recife

The state of Pernambuco, located in the northeast, is headquartered in Recife. A little city in Pernambuco called Olinda is widely known for its colonial architecture.

Both towns feature world-class Carnivals and are renowned for placing probably a bit more emphasis on the street carnival aspect than on the enormous samba schools. Both cities have nonstop live music and are a tad friendlier and cozier than Rio and So Paulo.

In fact, a lot of Brazilians believe that these are the best Carnival celebrations in the nation.

The capital of Bahia, another state in the northeast, is Salvador de Bahia Salvado. The largest street celebration is held during the second-largest Carnival in the world, behind Rio. Because it is a more conventional event, many actually refer to this carnival as the “real” carnival of Brazil.

There are many kilometers of street celebrations here instead of the major parades. In Salvador, they say, you are the parade while in Rio you are the spectator.

In the Amazon and the Northern States

Carnival is the Great Brazilian Experience

As you can see, Carnival in Brazil is way more than samba! 

In each region, you can find a diversity of rhythms, dance, friendly people, and a variety of cultural elements that you’ll enjoy to their fullest.

Brazilians love to party and celebrate, and Carnival is also about that. But in addition to the fun elements, Carnival is also about reflecting on Brazil’s history, culture, and even critiquing some aspects of its society. 

It’s a very rich experience.

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