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 2020 Carnaval in Rio will happen February 21-24, 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.