Carnival or Carnaval in Portuguese is a unique time to be in Brazil although no Brazilian city comes to life and entertains quite like Rio de Janeiro. Celebrating the Catholic's giving up of meat during Lent, Rio's Carnaval is the biggest event on the Brazilian calendar that takes place 46 days before Easter in the Sambadrome venue each year. If you don't have a ticket to watch the parade within this outstanding venue, you can catch smaller festivities and parades in other famous locations across the city including Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon, Lagoa, Jardin Botanico and downtown Rio. Filled with the sounds of Samba, Frevo dance styles, brilliant costumes and sexy Brazilians, the festival is a five-day event led mainly by volunteers and samba-schools, and counts on the participation of tens of thousands of people both professional and amateur. Known as the world's best party, carnival, Rio style, is the most extravagant and colourful event to exist and will have you in the party spirit in no time.
Much like many countries in Europe, Rio de Janeiro also celebrates the June Bonfire Festival which takes place on three separate Saint's Days – St Anthony (Santo Antonio) on June 13; St John (São João) on June 24 and St Peter (São Pedro) on June 29. This folkloric festival consists in people dressing up as farmers, stalls selling traditional foods, folkloric accordion music, dancing in the streets and large bonfires which are carried out in squares, outside churches and other locations in Rio city.
It may not snow in Rio de Janeiro during the Christmas season but you can bet you'll find all the normal traditions of this time of year scattered throughout the city. Tropical palm trees are turned into Christmas trees whilst streets are beautifully decorated and colourfully illuminated. Find marvellous collections by various Brazilian artists of manger scenes bringing religious traditions to life at the Avenida das Américas. A must-see during this event is the world's largest floating tree and can be viewed and photographed at the Rodrigo de Freitas lagoon. Celebrations are topped off with singing, dancing, music and fireworks which go on until New Year.
A fantastic event to be a part of when in Rio is the New Year's celebrations which are energetic, fun and the best way to end the year. With festivities held all across the city, the best celebrations are held along the illustrious Copacabana Beach. With plenty of singing and dancing, like the majority of events in Brazil, the main highlight is a 30 minute fireworks display that will have you feeling like a child again as you gaze eyes-wide at the sparkles and bright lights scattered across the skyline. This popular event that attracts millions of tourists each year also provides organised shows, concerts and entertaining performances to help countdown the hours to midnight or pass the first few hours of the New Year. Be There!