Famous for the bright colors, costumes and samba the Rio carnival is one of those experiences that you have to see to believe. As the city prepares for the 2016 carnival, we shine a light on the history of the event and what you can look forward to in February.
Forty days before Easter, Brazil comes to a halt as locals and tourists alike take to the streets dressed in colorful, flamboyant costumes to drink and dance each night of this week-long party away. Other events do take place in Sao Paulo, Salvador and Recife, but the Rio Carnival is the most famous of the Brazilian carnivals.
The festivities in Brazil date back to 1723 when people took to the streets to soak each other with buckets of water and to throw mud and food. Quite often, these actions would end up in brawls and riots. The parades of the 1800s were a lot more organised with the emperor joining in the celebrations, elaborate costumes and music.
During the 1840s, masquerade carnival balls became popular with horse drawn floats and military bands becoming main features a decade later. Towards the end of the Century, the festival became a working class affair where people wore costumes and participated in parades accompanied by musicians. It wasn’t until 1917 that samba became a major part of the Rio Carnival.
Between the 6th and 10th of February 2016, 70,000 spectators will flock to the Sambodromo, the Stadium of samba, to watch the amazing parades. The climax of the entire event is the samba parade. During this parade, the 14 best samba schools in Rio are each given the opportunity to show off their skills.
You will need tickets if you want to get close to the action, but if you miss out, try taking a trip to the Sambrdromo a few hours in to the event as there maybe a few discounted grandstand tickets.
We guarantee that no matter how much you like to party – you will never party as hard as you did at the Rio Carnival!