Brazil: Rio de Janeiro Gears Up for Carnival

Festivals + Holidays

Small towns and big cities across Brazil celebrate Carnival with wild abandon, and nobody does it better than a Cidade Maravilhosa, or the Marvellous City, as Cariocas like to think of Rio de Janeiro.

Carnival – known as Carnaval in Portuguese and Mardi Gras in French – is celebrated throughout the world in countries with large Catholic populations, and nowhere more enthusiastically than in Brazil.

While Carnival is celebrated in cities and towns and villages across the sprawling country, the biggest celebrations are in Olinda, Recipe, Salvador, and Rio de Janeiro.

The date varies from year to year because Carnival takes place 40 days before Easter. The 5 day celebration officially begins on Friday and reaches its climax on Fat Tuesday.

In 2016, Carnaval will be celebrated between 5 and 9 February in Brazil.

Lent begins the following day on Ash Wednesday, after which believers are supposed to abstain from all bodily pleasures.

So Carnival is sort of one last chance to indulge – before weeks of denial.

Street bands and samba parades are an important part of Carnival in Brazil. There are also lavish balls, street parties, and community rehearsals.


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