The Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is a world famous festival, considered by many to be the biggest Carnival across the globe. The celebration is held annually before Lent and accommodates nearly two million people per day. Carnival days, characterized by festive colors, music and parties, attract people from all walks of life; in fact, the event is so popularized that tourists automatically think about the Carnival whenever travel to Brazil comes to mind. Luckily, it’s easy to participate in the festivities, whether you’re looking to partake in the more traditional parade, organized by samba schools, or the more informal “Carnaval de Rua” (street carnival). Here’s how:
TYPES OF PARADES IN BRAZIL’S CARNIVAL:
Because the street carnival in Brazil is an open event, it is possible to attend for free, although some parties are commercialized. The most popular Carnaval de Rua, located in Salvador, can costs anywhere from BRL 100.00 ($32.54 USD) to BRL 1,240.00 ($403.54 USD) per day.
SAMBA SCHOOLS PARADE
Samba schools parade is a major attraction of the Carnival. During the celebration, samba schools compete with each other, and two are selected (one in Rio and one in São Paulo) as the best for the year. The schools are divided into categories: A, B, C, D, and E, with the first three competing in the Sambódromo parades. The other two categories take part in the street parades.
Tourists can participate in the samba schools parade by directly contacting a school. For a list of samba schools, click here. Generally, there is no fee to be paid. However, tourists must rent the costume they will use. This can get quite pricey if the school belongs to a special group (BRL 800,00 to BRL 1500,00, or $259.87 USD to 487.25 USD). Otherwise, the costume can cost anywhere from BRL 80,00 (26.10 USD) to BRL 250,00 (USD 81.29). Act quick, as they can sell out fast.
TIPS FOR PARTICIPATION:
Although the Carnival is a time of festivities, keep in mind that the celebration is taken very seriously. If you are planning to participate, be enthusiastic throughout the event. Also head to the parade with your costume already on, as you won’t be able to carry your items with you. Participants are also not allow to drink, take pictures, record videos or be late.
TIPS FOR WATCHING THE PARADE:
If dancing is not really your thing, you can also participate in the event as a spectator. There are many companies that offer tour packages for those who want to watch the parade. Click here to learn more.
After attending the Carnival in Brazil, explore the diversity of South America. Here is a glimpse of what you can expect: