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Brazilian Carnaval - Mardi Gras in Brazil

Updated on January 23, 2013

Brazilian Carnival Guide

This lenses is dedicated to travelers wishing to discover the 5 best spots for Carnaval in Brazil. As most people think Rio de Janeiro is one of the best cities to go while visiting Brazil during Mardi Gras holiday and checking out the Samba School Parade is a must. But amazingly Carnaval is celebrated in variety of ways as we explore the culture of each region of the country. This lens is created to showcase all the different ways that US Brazilians celebrate Carnaval. So we will make sure to explore each type of celebration and name the city and state where the Carnaval folklore, dance or tradition is coming from. We will only get a chance to cover the few best Carnival spots in Brazil but keep in mind that during the Carnaval holiday no matter where you go or which city in Brazil you end up in there is always a Carnaval party going on.

Hope you enjoy this lens and most importantly get a chance to experience Brazilian carnaval in your lifetime! Don't wait This is truly the most amazing party in the whole Wide World!

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Last updated: 01/23/13 | Promote Your Page Too

History of Carnaval
History of Carnaval

History of Carnaval

The carnaval party appeared in the 15th century right when the Catholic church implemented the Easter Holidays. The celebration takes part yearly 40 days before Easter and in general it lasts 3 days. After 40 days of lent where Catholic abstained from eating meat (Carne) , and the celebration (Vallis) inspired the word Carnaval, which derived from "Carnis vallis" in greek which is also simonizes with Mardi Grass. Carnaval is a type of celebration that is know to exists since Antiquity.

During the 15th and 16th century it was marked by lavish parties where there was a lot of food, drinks and entertainment. And at that time the Carnaval celebrations where prolonged for 7 days in the streets of Antique Rome where all citizens including prisioners were allowed to enjoy all 7 days of celebrations.

During the Renascence the introductions of Masks and allegoric cars and parades were introduced, during the Masquerades ball, where people dresses with intricate costumes and clothes. Although in the beginning carnaval was a spiritual celebration that was alive but considerably desorganized, with time the celebrations became more and more organized and many different traditions start to form in different regions of the world.

Today Carnaval is celebrated in many countries such as France (Paris), USA (New Orlens), Canada (Toronto), however in Brazil Carnaval has taken a national approach and most cities in the country will stop to celebrate Carnaval within a variety of different traditions of each reagion. It is really an celebration to explore!

Brazil (Country Travel Guide)

Carnaval In Rio
Carnaval In Rio

1 - Carnaval in Rio de Jainero, RJ Brazil

Rio de Janeiro is definitely the most visited city during the Carnaval Holiday. And Carnaval in Rio is listest on the Guinness book as the biggest party in the world. Tourists from all over the world stops by the city to experience the world biggest and most famous Samba School parade, that takes place in the Rio de janeiro "Sambodromo". Each samba school presents a theme and floats and an enormous parade filled with people, music, band and they go thru the streets of "Sambodromo" competing with each other for the number 1 title. This tradition has been perfected for years by trying to create the ultimate experience, by building the best floats and costumes to represent their themes, and by including the best music they can from their band called the "bateria", in order to achieve the title of the best SAMBA SCHOOL. As a consequence we, given this amazing competition of art the WE, the public, is simply taken by the pure beauty and energy that is Carnaval.

Some of the most famous Samba Schools that have earned their permanet presence in the sambodromo parades are:

Mocidade Independente, Imperio Serrano, Academicos do Salgueiro, Unidos da Tijuca, Mangueira, Beija-Flor de Nilopolis.

Carnaval In Rio

A samba School Experience. I found this video to be very fun and real and it showcases Carnaval is the right light! Hope you enjoy Carnaval in rio.

Sao paulo Samba Scool Float
Sao paulo Samba Scool Float

2. Carnaval in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Similarly to the Carnaval in Rio de janeiro, Sao Paulo's main Carnaval attraction are Samba Schools parading on a "Sambodromo" designed by the famous brazilian architect Oscar Neimeyer. Using the same traditions as the Samba Xchools in Rio, Sao Paulo also puts up an amazing show.

Sadly given the fact that Sao Paulo does not have a beach, many people watch the samba schools for few days while in Sao Paulo downtown and then they head to the coastal cities on the outskits of Sao Paulo to enjoy some street carnaval as well. I will showcase street carnaval ahead as I talk about Salvador which is the biggest street carnaval scene in Brazil. But keep in mind that during the carnaval holiday in Brazil no matter where you go or which city you end up in there is always a Carnaval party going on.

Best Sao Paulo Samba Schools: Unidos do Peruche, Tom Maior, Acadmicos do Tucuruvi, Rosas de Ouro, Mancha Verde, Vai-Vai, Prola Negra, Nen de Vila Matilde, guia de Ouro, Mocidade Alegre, Unidos de Vila Maria, X-9 Paulistana, Gavies da Fiel, Imprio de Casa Verde

Sao Paulo Carnaval Pictures

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Carnaval Salvador Brazil
Carnaval Salvador Brazil

3. Carnaval in Salvador, BA Brazil

Carnaval is Salvador Bahia is all about being on the streets and enjoying the sound of music! Millions of people flock to the street of the city to dance to the sounds of the " Trio Eletricos", which are basically buses that are converted into stages that circle around town featuring all the major Brazilian Samba stars of the moment. People follow the truck in flocks, dancing and having an amazing time. The main type of music played by the artists is categorized as AXE. A mixture of Frevo with and Afoxe which are ethinically linked with African sounds and ritms. It is a very energizing experience and very powerful as well as you experience severall days of pure mass enjoyment!

Carnaval Salvador, BA Brazil

Live Video of one of the Trio Eletricos.

Carnaval Olinda, Brazil The Midnight Men
Carnaval Olinda, Brazil The Midnight Men

4. Carnaval in Olinda, PE Brazil

The "Carnaval" in "Olinda" is famous for its Giants Dolls that are brought to the center of the Old downtown at night indicating the start of "Carnaval". Known as The Midnight Men this Giant doll comes out to show that the party has started. Blogs of people them take over the streets of the city and traditional blocks of people circulate the streets of the city dancing the rhythms of "Frevo", "Maracatu" and "Ciranda".

Carnaval In Olinda, PE Brazil

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Guardians of OlindaFrevo 1Frevo 2Frevo 3Frevo 4
Guardians of Olinda
Guardians of Olinda
Frevo 1
Frevo 1
Frevo 2
Frevo 2
Frevo 3
Frevo 3
Frevo 4
Frevo 4
Carnaval Diamantina
Carnaval Diamantina

5. Carnaval in Diamantina, MG

Similar to the street style Carnaval in Bahia, the Carnaval in Diamantina Minas Gerais is where the this historical city's streets come alive with music, people and lots lots of drinks. Since the "Minas Gerais" state is located inland, away from the beach and surrounded by gorgeous mountains, be prepared to not only experience Carnavals, but also amazing waterfalls, nature walks as well as Baroque decorated churches and architecture from as early as the 15th century, when the city bloomed with the discovery of Diamonds, giving the city its famous name Diamantina.

Samba Dance - Learn how to dance Samba!

By Francini

Samba Body

Dance Samba Today!

before you head to Brazil you must first learn few Samba steps.

Dance Today! Samba, with Quenia Ribeiro - Active Lifestyle Makeover: Full Brazilian samba classes, samba dance instruction, how-to, choreography
Dance Today! Samba, with Quenia Ribeiro - Active Lifestyle Makeover: Full Brazilian samba classes, samba dance instruction, how-to, choreography

This is an amazing work out video where you dance your calories off! the goal of this video is to provide you with an active Lifestyle makeover while learning a new dance.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great lens! I'm living in Florianpolis and am VERY much looking forward to Carnaval here. I'm just starting to write about my family's experiences and will probably be putting up a lens about Carnaval on the Island of Santa Catarina!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 

      7 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Hi, this lens is being featured on the South America Sizzles lensography for the Squid Angel highlights.


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