Carnival of Brazil is an annual Brazilian festival held between the Friday afternoon (51 days before Easter) and Ash Wednesday at noon, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term "carnival," from carnelevare, "to remove (literally, "raise") meat.

Even those  who don’t live in Rio have their favorite Samba Scholl and they root for it, preferably live, at the Samba School Parade which takes place at the Sambadrome. This is the stage for the greatest popular artistic spectacle on earth, where thousands of samba dancers parade for a totally impassioned audience.

June Parties

This celebration commemorates the birth of John the Baptist, a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. This takes place at the beginning of the Brazilian winter and allows the celebrants to thank St John for the rain and to celebrate rural life. The venue for this event is most typically a huge thatched tent.

Parintins Folklore Festival

This festival is held in the state of Amazonas and is the second-largest annual festival in the country (the largest being Carnival). It is held over three days during late June and celebrates a legend about an ox that was resuscitated.

New Year’s in Copacabana

Celebrating New Year’s Eve on Copacabana beach is one of the greatest experiences Rio has to offer, when dressed in white, gather together in climate of brotherhood and pace, order and joy.


When you think of Oktoberfest, you’re likely to envisage Germany, but Brazil hosts its own in the wonderful city of Blumenau. Founded as a German colony in 1850, today the Santa Catarina city sees over 1 million tourists flock to its centre, to enjoy German and Brazilian cuisine, music and culture.

São Paulo Gay Pride

A perennial Guinness book entry as “the largest gay festival in the world” with some 2.5 million colourfully costumed gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals and friends marching alongside exuberant floats and dancing from dusk till dawn till dusk again. There are also daily debates, plays, music concerts, dance performances and book and art fairs.

Paraty International Literary Festival

Established by longtime Lusophile Liz Calder – in 2003, publisher of Harry Potter – this bookish gathering sees a handful of big-name foreign writers – past guests have included Julian Barnes, Michel Houllebecq and Jeanette Winterson – joining local authors to speak and sign at venues around the pretty colonial town of Paraty.

Cirio de Nazaré, Belém

One of the biggest Roman Catholic processions in the world, this gathering in the city of Belém – at the entrance to the Amazon river – sees some two million faithful following the statue of Our Lady of Nazareth from the cathedral to the Church of Nazareth, 2.2 miles away.