Rio throws an incredible party to celebrate Brazil’s Carnaval. Thousands of people in lavish costumes fill the streets, with samba in their hearts and caipirihinas in their cups. From the young to old, everyone dances during Carnaval.

After the Portuguese brought the Lent holiday tradition in the 1500’s, the combination of indigenous costumes and African rhythms turned Brazilian Carnaval into a grand party, unlike anything else in the world. As a celebration leading up to Ash Wednesday, it is rumored that the name actually comes from “Carne Vale,” meaning good bye meat. To prepare for 40 days of abstinence, people lose all inhibitions with wild parties of sin in honor of King Momo, the King of Carnaval.

The official dates of the 2015 Carnaval in Rio will happen February 13-17, with parties starting a few weeks before. The most characteristic wonders of Rio’s Carnaval include Samba School Parades and street parties. If you plan to visit as a tourist, make sure you bring your dancing shoes.

Samba School Parades

Rio’s unique Carnaval celebrations revolve around their 12 samba schools. Each school has about 3,000-5,000 members and puts on an elaborate show using dancing, percussion and costumes to tell a story. The schools compete in the Sambodromo for pride, honor and the chance to be recognized internationally for their performance.

Eight-thousand people fill the stadium to watch the fierce competition unfold. Tickets to the Samba School Parades are in high demand and can be very experience. If you want to go to the show, contact Rio Samba Dancer for ticket deals and more information.

Dance Samba at the Street Parties

During Carnaval, there are hundreds of street parties in every neighborhood of Rio. As you wander the streets, you find bandas and blocos of marching parades, drums, vocalists and classic Brazilian samba music. People dance all around, with strangers, with friends, with family. You can show up in costume or come as you are, just make sure you are ready to dance! Put your costume and come to streets party.

New to samba? No worries! Rio Samba Dancer features special Carnaval dance classes to teach you the classic Brazilian dances. 

In one class, you’ll learn how to Samba and Forro and be ready to dance with the locals.

Check out our Carnival class schedule here.

We look forward to seeing you here!