7 Things To Know About Rio’s Carnival

Celebrating Carnival in the heart Brazil is on many bucket lists. Every year people from around the globe flock to Rio to observe and partake in what’s known as “the world’s largest party”. Sequins and feathers of every colour and over 500 block parties bring Rio’s Carnival to life. If you are planning on celebrating Carnival in Rio, here’s what you need to know.

Things To Know About Rio’s Carnival:

1. “The World’s Largest Party”

While Carnival is celebrated all around the world in places like Spain, Slovenia, Trinidad, India and more, Rio de Janeiro takes the cake for hosting the biggest. Each year Rio rakes in around 5 million celebrators with an average of 2 million people partying it up on the streets daily.

2. Where to stay

If you want to party with a sea view and ease of access to festivities – opt for Copacabana. The rough waters will take your breath away when you stay up until sunrise, and you can rest assured there is always a party just around the corner. We recommend splurging a little on Emiliano Rio.

3. History

Do you know where Carnival comes from? Originally celebrated as a start for lent, its roots lie in a Catholic pre-fasting feast. The name ‘carnival’ comes from the Latin expression ‘carne valle’ which means ‘goodbye to meat’. Brought over by Portuguese settlers, Brazilians eventually got in on the fun as Christianity continued to take root. Years later it has transformed into a celebration of feasts, samba, music and enjoying life.

4. Traditional foods to eat

One of the best things about celebrating Carnival in Rio is the delicious food. Take your pick from Brazilian staples such as slow-cooked pork (feijoada), hearty fish stew (moqueca baiana) or a classic Brazilian barbecue. Either way, come hungry and ready to feast on all the traditional dishes. We recommend Restaurant Estrelas and Casa da Feijoada to start.

Brazilian BBQ - Rio

5. Blocos For All

Blocos or block parties range with themes catering to old and young, mentally unstable, politicians and more. Never without a sense of humour though – take your pick from “Band of the Shrimp”, “Half a Dozen Crying Cats,”, “Sweaty in the Middle”, “I am Normal, but the Coconut is Crazy” and so much more. It’s such a fun experience in Rio!

blocos rio de janeiro carnaval
image: @blocodosaraiva/instagram

6. Don’t Miss The Sambadrome

The most famous part of Rio’s Carnival is when the local samba schools put on their spectacular parades and performances. You’ll find this in the Sambadrome and can get more information on tickets and types of events here.

Sambadrome Rio Carnival

7. Costumes of Every Colour

The sparkling costumes of every colour are one of the best sights of Brazil’s Carnival. In the Portuguese celebration, they’d dress up and parade through the streets as a ‘last hurrah’ in preparation for fasting and abstaining from vices.

Once Carnival made it to Brazil, it merged with African and native influence making for spectacular colours and sequins galore. Eventually, samba would be introduced. Carnival would become famous globally for their vibrant costumes and rhythmic celebrations.

Traditional Samba Dancer Rio Carnaval

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Melanie Hamilton
Melanie Hamilton

Melanie is an avid traveller with a passion for history and global foods. She is currently based in Tbilisi, Georgia where most of her time is occupied with qvevri wine and Soviet history. Having do-si-do'd her way across Europe and Latin America, she's enjoyed some of the world's most exciting places firsthand and can't wait to tell you about them.

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