Any other festival or celebration seems insignificant when compared with the greatest show on earth – Rio Carnival. Street processions are accompanied by dancers with sincerely elaborated costumes and radiant tableaux. Wear an outlandish costume to get the exciting vibe; feel the frenzy of dance and hip-twitching samba beats, and mingle with the locals for festivities that last throughout the four days (and nights.) It’s when Rio de Janeiro completely shuts down for the ultimate fun fest, and there is no escape from the rhapsody.
The origin of the carnival can be traced back to the Romans and Greeks who honored the god of wine, Dionysus, each year on the arrival of spring. It is held on the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, and lasts through a six-week period that ends on Easter.
Things to Do during Rio Carnival
Attend the Opening Ceremony – The Rio Carnival commences with this event where the Carnival King gets crowned by the mayor and is handed the keys to the city.
Partake in Parade – Many Samba schools rehearse and teach the dance to foreign volunteers. Just choose your favorite school, get dressed up, and march with them if you are looking to be a part of the colorful celebrations in the main parade. Lots of dancing, drinking and an overwhelming state of euphoria may lead to unforgettable encounters. The final rehearsal in the Sambodromo (parade area) takes place last Sunday before the Carnival.
Join a Bloco – Blocos are the independent and non-stop street parties happening in the neighborhoods of Rio. Cordao do Bola Preta street parade is the largest bloco in the city and is attended by over 200,000 revelers. To feel the carnival spirit, join any group of people who come from different parts of the world and gather on the streets. The best thing about a bloco is that it is incredibly informal and entirely free.
Experience Carnival Balls – During the nights, one of the most popular event is the Gay Ball. It attracts people of different sexualities wearing flamboyant outfits. Magic Ball at the Copacabana Palace is an exclusive party for elites and celebrities across the globe. Black Beads in Rio Scala attracts thousands of revelers wearing black and white polka dotted costumes and marching down the streets.
Explore Rio de Janeiro – Bask in the warmth of Copacabana and Ipanema beach, climb the Pedra da Gávea, make new friends while exploring the local culture, hang out in Lapa for buzzing nightlife, or visit one of the new seven wonders of the world – Christ the Redeemer.
Main Attractions of Rio Carnival – You can enjoy street band performances on Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, dance performances at Cinelândia, concerts at Samba Land, and Rio Scala Ball every day. The main events of the carnival are Opening Ceremony, Preliminary Parades, Street Band Competition in Av. Rio Branco and Centro, Black Beads Party, Samba School Mangueira Ball, The Marvelous City Ball, Parade of the Samba Schools, Parade of the Children`s Samba Schools, and Gay Ball.
Rio Carnival 2017 Dates
The Carnival will last from February 24-28. Please refer the official site for details on booking tickets and other arrangements.
The carnival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, the second-largest city in Brazil located in the southern part of the country.
How to Reach?
By Air – Rio de Janeiro–Galeão International Airport is the international gateway for travelers. It is located 20 km north from downtown Rio and is served by the airlines of the Americas and Europe. From airport, Premium buses, BRT Transcarioca buses, and cabs are easily available to reach Rio.
By Train – Central do Brasil is Rio de Janeiro’s central railway station. Additionally, the city has two subway lines with 35 stations and several other SuperVia commuter rail lines. During the carnival, the Metrô Rio provides round-the-clock services. You can also opt for Santa Teresa Tram, a heritage tramway system, to explore the heart of the Rio de Janeiro.
By Road – Rodoviária Novo Rio is the primary terminal for long-distance bus routes. BR-116, BR-101, BR-040 are major interstate highways passing through Rio. The bike sharing system, Bike Rio, has 60 rental stations across the city.
If you don’t want to compromise on luxury, go for Belmond Copacabana Palace, Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro, Windsor Marapendi Hotel, and Relais et Chateaux Santa Teresa. For mid-range accommodations, Granada Hotel, Hotel Santa Clara, and Gallant Hotel are good options. Brazuca’s Hostel, Copa Hostel, Che Lagarto Hostel Copacabana, and El Misti House are some of the value-for-money accommodations.
Espetinhos, Queijo coalho, Tapioca, Yakisoba, and Caipirinhas are mouth-watering street food and cocktails that you must try while you’re partying on the streets. Restaurante Térèze, Aprazível, Casa da Suiça, Confeitaria Colombo, Pérgula, and Le Pré Catalan are some of the best fine-dining restaurants in the city.
Best Time to Visit
Since the celebrations begin 40 days before Easter, that’s the latest by when visitors should look to arrive in Brazil.
Rio Carnival Facts
- It is, by all means, the largest carnival in the world.
- Nearly 500,000 foreign visitors attend it each year.
- The samba, a ritual Candomble dance, is the primary music of Rio Carnival.
- The carnival creates quarter million jobs and contribute millions to the tourism industry.
- Samba Parade is the highlight of the carnival and is often referred as the biggest show on Earth.
- This Brazilian carnival is vastly influenced by the Rio, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, and Bahia dance styles.
- Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí is an exhibition place built for the Samba schools parades during the carnival.
- The bahianas are a group of women who dance in circles throughout the parade.
Things to Remember
- Buy tickets and make arrangements in advance as millions of people want to attend the carnival.
- The most affordable tickets are for allocated chairs in the sectors 12 and 13 of Sambadrome.
- The row of chairs are placed on reclining steps to allow better views.
Photo by : Leandro Neumann Ciuffo
AS20151120Published On: Saturday, July 27th, 2013