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Carnival in Rio

Carnival for Beginners

Carnival is Rio's main event. It happens at the peak of summer, when Cariocas are at their best. The festivities attract thousands of people from all corners of the world. Carnaval, as spelled in Portuguese, is a 4-day celebration. It starts on Saturday and ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi-Gras). Dates change every year.

Arrive a few days earlier to explore the city. There's so much to see and do during Carnival days and nights that you will hardly have time to sleep, let alone go on city tours...

The origins of Carnival are unclear, but most agree that it started as a pagan celebration in ancient Rome or Greece. Carnival balls were imported from Italy in the late nineteenth century, and had their golden era in the thirties, with legendary balls at the Copacabana Palace and Municipal Theater.

The Samba Parade also got started in the 30's - first timidly at Praša XI, and later at Av. Presidente Vargas. It found a permanent home in 1984 at the Sambodrome, in the downtown area. Today the event is televised to dozens of countries, and many people consider it the biggest show on earth. With our help you can March with a Samba School like a local, and secure your tickets online!

Street Carnival is loads of fun, free, and happens all over the city. You are more than welcome to watch, and participate. Banda de Ipanema, has its own special page here, of course!

You gotta have balls if you think this is not enough! Hey, don't get us wrong... We are talking about the fabulous balls that happen at the clubs! Pick out the right parties every time, learn the do's and don'ts, and Have a Ball!

Carnival 2000 is just around the corner, and it's a celebration of Brazil's 500th anniversary! Secure your room as soon as possible, to avoid any disappointments. You will get an idea of the good times waiting for you with our (Funny but) True Carnival Stories, and reviews of Carnival 98 and Carnival 99.


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