Rio de Janeiro Carnival

Rio Carnival Slideshow View

Carnival Rio is the most elaborate Carnaval (the Portuguese spelling) of all the Brazilian cities, and many Brazil Carnival pictures are taken at the celebrations in Rio de Janeiro. Rio Carnival enjoys the choice beachside location of east/southeast Brazil. Rio de Janeiro Carnival is held four days before Ash Wednesday, making Carnaval Rio the ideal time for celebration as the Brazilian summer is December through March. Rio de Janeiro is nestled between the coast and the small coastal mountain range of Serra da Carioca.

Carnival in Rio
Carnival in Rio  Image: Carnaval/Sfmission

Rio de Janeiro Carnival is inhabited by friendly, out-going people. Don't be surprised if strangers stop you in the street with a warm greeting and engage you in a free-flowing conversation. However, keep in mind that their expression of "see you later" is a casual leave-taking, much like ours, and not meant in the literal sense.

Carnival Rio enjoys the tradition of the Mayor handing over the keys of the city to Rei Momo (King Momo). Rei Momo is the Carnival King, traditionally a fat man, who represents fat Tuesday, the day before Lent season begins. This is the kick-off for festivities that dance through the streets all over town, highlighted by parades, contests and balls. Photos of Rio Carnival girls are iconic of this time of year, showing the lively party and skimpy but elaborate costumes the event is famous for.

Brazil Rio Carnival
Brazil Rio Carnival

Rio Carnival has many impromptu bandas (brass and percussion marching bands) street bands that strike up and play at whim. Bandas usually inspire a procession of dancers that follow them in their revelry. In addition to street bands are the blocks in which a kind of "block party" and parade festivities ensue. Street events may center on a hotel or a specific street or block. The thrill of Carnaval Rio entices anyone to kick up their heels and have a great time.

The most important events of Carnival Rio, and probably all of Brazil Carnivals, are the samba parades. All samba parades have a committee-selected theme and a story line plot, performed by a specific samba school. The samba schools work hard year-round toward the honor of being one of the 14 schools that get to perform in the Sambodrome. The Sambodrome is a stadium specifically designed to showcase samba school performances. It is a huge honor to be hand-selected as among the best samba schools to compete in the Sambodrome. Rio de Janeiro Carnival schools who do not make the top 14 cut perform their dance on the streets where thousands of spectators gather to watch the event unfold. In some cases, spectators actually join in the parade!

Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a highly anticipated event not just for Brazilians. Many people make annual sojourns to Rio Carnival. It is essential that you plan your trip well in advance so that it can be the pleasurable experience that you hoped for. Many hotels host blocks and parades, so it is wise to scout out block locations and book your hotel nearby the events that appeal to you the most. Some of the most decadent street parties are at Le Meridien Copacabana, Mar Ipanema Hotel, and Leme Othon Palace, to name just a few.

Top image: nateClicks (flickr)

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