Rio Carnival

The most famous, and the biggest, carnival in the world happens every year in the stunning city of Rio de Janeiro. It's a crazy 5 day festival which marks the beginning of Lent. The carnival starts on the Friday and ends on "Fat Tuesday"; the following day, Ash Wednesday, is when Lent begins. The carnival is basically a chance to enjoy all the excesses that you have to give up for Lent, so expect lots of food and drink and wild parties!

You'll find crazy celebrations all over Brazil, but the main festivities happen in Rio de Janeiro. This is the place to head to for the wildest party you'll ever attend! It's noisy, colourful and ridiculously easy to get carried away with all the dancing (mainly samba) and celebrations.

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Accommodation Options for Rio Carnival

This famous festival is extremely popular with around 2 million people hitting the streets every day. If you want to be a part of it then book your accommodation well in advance! Nomads recommends several different hostels in Rio de Janeiro and the surrounding areas:

  • El Misti Copacabana... more
  • El Misti Hostel Botafogo... more
  • El Misti Rooms... more
  • El Misti Hostel Rio... more
  • El Misti House Copacabana... more

For accommodation in other locations in Brazil, you'll find links to recommended hostels here.

Rio Carnival History

The first ever Rio Carnival was way back in 1723 started by Portuguese immigrants. People would dress up in costumes and perform on the parade accompanied by an orchestra of strings, ganzás, flutes, and other instruments.


What's on during the Rio Carnival 2017?

Every day during the carnival you can enjoy street bands on Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches during the afternoon and then dances and concerts every evening. (Evenings: Dances at Cinelândia, 8pm Concerts at Samba Land, 8pm Concerts in Lapa, 11pm Rio Scala Ball)

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Main Events 2017

Friday, February 24
7pm Opening Ceremony - the Carnival King (Momo) is crowned by the city mayor and receives the city´s keys
9pm First day of the Preliminary Parades
11pm Black Beads Party in Rio Scala

Saturday, February 25
9.30am Street Band Cordão do Bola Preta (Downtown)
4pm Banda de Ipanema meets at Praça General Osório, Ipanema
8pm Street Band Competition in Av. Rio Branco, Centro (Downtown)
9pm Second day of the Preliminary Parades 
11pm The Magic Ball at Copacabana Palace Hotel
11pm Samba School Mangueira Ball in Rio Scala

Sunday, February 26
9pm Parade of the Samba Schools in the First League (the Special Group)
11pm The Marvelous City Ball in Rio Scala

Monday, February 27
9pm Parade of the Samba Schools in the First League (the Special Group)
11pm Long live the Beer Ball in Rio Scala

Tuesday, February 28
4pm Banda de Ipanema marches for the last time
9pm Parade of the Children`s Samba Schools
11pm Gay Ball in Rio Scala

What is Lent?

Lent is a solemn religious observance in the liturgical calendar of many Christian denominations that begins on Ash Wednesday and covers a period of approximately six weeks before Easter Day. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement and self-denial.

Its institutional purpose is heightened in the annual commemoration of Holy Week, marking the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the tradition and events of the New Testament beginning on Friday of Sorrows, further climaxing on Jesus'crucifixion on Good Friday, which ultimately culminates in the joyful celebration on Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence.

Lent is traditionally described as lasting for forty days, in commemoration of the forty days which, according to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus spent, before beginning his public ministry, fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by the Devil. In most of the West, it begins on Ash Wednesday.

- Wikipedia

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