The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is the most famous carnival in Brazil and one of the biggest and best celebrations in the world. Many Brazilians and tourists flock to Rio to be part of the carnival festivities.
While the Samba Parade is the most well-known event of the Carnaval, the other highlights of the Rio Carnival are its street festivities, samba dancers dressed in elaborate costumes, music, and countless balls & parties held along the beaches and in nightclubs across the city are all hallmarks of the Carnival in Rio.
The parade through the Sambodromo, featuring spectacular floats with thousands of Samba dancers in elaborate costumes and pounding drummers is the most famous event of the Rio Carnival and is what attracts everyone to the Rio de Janeiro Carnival.
Rio’s Samba Parade was taken off the streets in 1984 and put into a Sambodromo to make more room for its thousands of spectators. This massive Samba Parade consists of the top Samba schools and on each night the schools dance and march through the 700 meter long stretch of the Sambodromo, as they compete against other Samba schools to be crowned champion.
As the schools pass through the Sambodromo, they are judged on their performance and are awarded points based on different aspects. The judges award points for various aspects of their performances, among them choreography, costumes, floats, decorations and percussion.
The Samba parade is considered the highlight of the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, where up to 90,000 spectators attend the parade on any given night during the Carnaval, and the event is broadcast in numerous countries around the globe.
Since it is such a huge event, the Samba schools invest large amounts of money, time and hard work in preparation for the Carnaval. Each school chooses a theme and they work to build the best floats and costumes to represent their themes, and to include the best music that represents their theme for their band.
While the glamorous Samba parade at the Sambodromo may be what initially attracts people to the Rio de Janeiro Carnival, the real action is at the wild parties and the Street Carnival around the city.
The street carnival in Rio consists of free block parties and led by “blocos”, which are street bands and groups that parade and play down the streets. Each bloco originates from a certain neighborhood where a street is shut down from traffic and they parade down the street, accompanied by a large crowd of people, some in costumes, singing, and dancing.
Apart from organized street dances and parades, people also simply gather along the streets & beaches, and mingle as they drink away and have fun.
Carnival Balls & Parties
Carnival balls and parties can be found all throughout the city’s nightclubs, bars, beaches and hotels that throw special carnival events. Many Carnival balls feature live music, costumes, and Samba dancers.
There are balls for singles, couples and also gay balls as well. Whatever you do prepare yourself for a sleeples night, as many balls start late and go into the morning hours of the next day.
One of the most famous Carnival balls is the Magic Ball held at the Copacabana Palace Hotel, which attracts celebrities and high-profile people. In the past it has been attended by Paris Hilton along with a variety of South American stars and well-known personalities.
See video below for more information on the Rio de Janeiro carnival.
Rio Carnaval Video