Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil EFE/Antonio LacerdaGet ready for the masks, the samba music, and all the festivities that make the Carnival Festival so famous in Brazil. Carnival or Carnaval in Portuguese is celebrated in many Catholic countries in South America and Europe. But the Carnival festival in Rio is the highlight of them all.

Carnival is a four day celebration to give a farewell to the time of celebration prior to the beginning of the season of lent. It is basically a four day period of fun before the traditional fast of lent. The term Carnival comes from carnelevare which means “remove meat”. Traditionally during lent you cannot eat meat and poultry products on Friday’s and you must give up one thing that is important to you like drinking coffee for 40 days. So before you get ready for that the Carnival festival gives you a little over indulgence.

Prior to the actual festival there are several carnival balls which are very famous and extravagant. The festival consists of lots of parades with exotic costumes in the traditional gold, purple, and green colors. The parades are lead by the Samba schools and watched by the millions of citizens and tourists that come for the celebration. The schools actual compete to participate in the annual Carnival festival. The parades are generally televised and broadcast internationally as well. 

Carnival in Rio de JaneiroSamba dancing is the main dance used in the parades and is a famous dance from Brazil. Samba-enredo, the samba de bloco, the samba de embalo and the marchinha are the traditional samba dances from Rio de Janiero. Samba originated in Bahia from the African slaves and today continues to enrich the countries culture and history.

The festival in Rio de Janeiro takes place in the Sambodromo, close to the city center. The parade starts at 8 or 9 at night and keeps going till 5 in the morning. There are different types of seats and areas one can get to view the parade. Watch out for the Portuguese tradition of entrudo. Entrudo is the tradition of throwing water, flour, and mud at unsuspecting passers-by. It is meant all in good fun and to lighten the spirits of the event.

This year the festival was one of the largest yet. In fact even after the festival, the cocoa, one of Brazil’s main exports, was delayed a few days as a result of the event. The festival in Rio de Janeiro was celebrated with over 5 million people including some five hundred thousand tourists.

Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil. Today the traditions in Brazil have been adopted all over the world in many Catholic countries. The whole country of Brazil stops for this week long celebration including banks, airlines and offices. This time in Brazil accounts for 70% of the year’s tourism economy and 80% of the year’s beer consumption. Even the subways stay open 24 hours during this celebration. After the celebration many of the shops will remain closed for a day or so of rest prior to the celebration.

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