Home Bahia Brazil Brazilians Brazil Carnival Brazil Photos Contact Minas Gerais Noronha Islands Portuguese Rio de Janeiro Rio Beaches Rio Restaurants Surfing Brazil The Pantanal Site Links About Brazilista

Brazilian Carnival  

Festivities take on many different forms, but the end results are the same: Holidays!!!  It's like a spring-break thing for all.

Brazilians are known for their love of a good time and there is some definite truth to that statement. You might even call that a stereotype. In a country that’s as diverse as any, it seems this love is a birthright. Carnival precedes the Lent phase of Easter whereby all those of the Catholic faith forego meat/carne. But prior to Lent, some (many years ago) have indulged in a ‘get it out of your system’ mentality before the fasting of Lent began, to help in the creation of this tradition.

Brazilians appreciate the same things that the rest of the world do, like enjoying family and friends and with a healthy portion of song and dance. To be honest, many Brazilians take these holidays relaxing away from the party, in a quieter setting outside of the big city.

Time of year
The dates of carnival vary from late February to early March. Carnival and the New Years celebration are the two times of the year that foreigners pour into the country, making it almost impossible to find a room at the last minute, particularly in Rio. The ones remaining are priced on demand. That’s up, up and away and usually in a package,  locking you in for the four days and three nights.
Rio de Janeiro is already one of the costliest cities in Brazil.  Plan ahead for these two holidays.

Free Beach Concerts
Believe it or not, carnival in
Rio de Janeiro takes on a more discrete form then the other two big cities with private parties, big and small. On the beach in Copacabana, you will find some live music by some of Brazil’s popular artists, all of which are free. The Rolling Stones did one of the largest shows ever, with well over a million people in the audience on Copacabana beach 2006. It was fantastic!

Another part of carnival is on the street following a large flatbed truck called a trio eletrico. The truck is stacked with amplifiers, a band of musicians and those chosen few dancing up top with the band.   The band performs as the entire procession ceremoniously crawls through the designated city streets. Young and old take part and the music is geared towards the shaking of the body to the rhythm. The historic cities of the northeast, Salvador and Recife really do these trio eletrico things up, with enormous flocks in tow.

Samba Schools
Of course what carnival really means, from
Rio de Janeiro to the world, is the parade which plays host to all of the big and small samba schools. These schools are clubs from the barrios of the city that practice all year long for their hour-of-fame parading down the Sambadromo stadium. Samba is a fast-paced rhythm and dance that has strong  Bantu African influence. The schools are usually led by the drummers, followed by the supporting samba dancers , and then the colorfully designed float - the central theme, which showcases the queen, clad in bikini, feathers and all the glamour and glitter that we have seen on TV. All of this can cost millions of dollars for the bigger samba schools.

One other thing worth mentioning:
There are two sides to the Sambadromo: the concrete bleachers,  and the VIP rooms for those fortunate enough to be sponsored or with deep pockets. The biggest companies in Brazil buy up lots of this VIP space for their chosen ones.
The bleachers will set you back over $100 on a weekend showing. Plan on spending a few times over for a space on the greener side with those privileged folks. Should be worth the price for the safe and quality experience. The parades run over a three day period.

Getting to Sambadromo
Metrô (subway) runs around the clock during carnival and is safe and practical. Taxis are also a good option. The nights when the bigger samba schools parade are the more costly affairs and are scheduled on the weekends. They start after dark and go until the early morning hours.

Famous Carnival Cities
Other leading cities that are famous for carnival include
Salvador and Recife, cities in the northeast of Brazil. In both of these places, live venues and street revelry whip crowds into frenzy. Make sure you are prepared for some craziness. Hordes of people take to the central areas of the city, much like sardines in a can. Even the smaller cities also usually have a parade, something for those interested in a calmer affair.

Carnival is all about letting your hair down and exercising your right to enjoy yourself. Whether it's joining in on a trio eletrico, a live show on famous Copacabana beach, or be it the parade in Rio de Janeiro. You know what to do. So go on, don't be shy. Throw your hands in the air and give me a Yahoo for Carnival in Brazil!




Home Bahia Brazil Brazilians Brazil Carnival Brazil Photos Contact Minas Gerais Noronha Islands Portuguese Rio de Janeiro Rio Beaches Rio Restaurants Surfing Brazil The Pantanal Site Links About Brazilista