Brazil Holidays, Festivals, Events, & Carnival
“Calendar of Brazil holidays, festivals, & carnivals”
There is a variety of Brazilian holidays, events and festivals held throughout Brazil each year. Most holidays in Brazil are observed nationwide, however some states and cities have their own holidays, festivals or carnivals.
Besides national holidays, there is a variety of festivals and carnivals held through out the country. Many cities celebrate the date on which it was founded.
Also, many towns and neighborhoods stage their own regional celebrations, which usually consist of music, dancing and of course drinking.
Many Brazil holidays and fiestas can be fun to experience if you are in the area. Festivals or carnivals typically feature local music, bands, costumes, parades, dancing, fireworks, alcohol, and food.
Below is a list of Brazilian holidays and a list of some of the major Brazilian festivals and carnivals.
Click on a month or scroll down below to find Brazil holidays, events, carnivals or festivals.
Ano Novo (New Year’s Day): January 1 – Parties and fireworks.
(Public Holiday – National Holiday)
Bom Jesus dos Navegantes (Good Jesus of Navigators): January 1 – In Salvador, Brazil, this festival is celebrated on New Year’s Day, where a bunch of decorated small boats carry a statue of the Lord Jesus of Seafarers from the main harbor to the outlying beach of of Boa Viagem. Thousands of spectators line Salvador’s beaches to catch a glimpse of the spectacle. This ritual was started by sailors back in the middle of the 18th century who were asking for divine protection at sea.
Lavagem da Purificacao: January 23-February 2 – One of the most traditional festivals in Bahia, that takes place in Santo Amaro, 74 km from Salvador, Bahia. The festival honors Our Lady of Purification, and has been happening for four centuries. The festival involves live music & bands, dancing, food. and washing the steps of the Church.
Lavagem do Bonfim (Feast of Bonfim): Third Sunday in January – Is a religious celebration that takes place in Salvador, Bahia.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week: happens twice a year, one in January, featuring the Fall collection, and the other is in June with Spring/Summer collection, with models showcasing swimsuits and beachwear from top designers.
Festa de lemanja (Festival of lemanja): February 2 – In Salvador, Bahia, celebrating the goddess of the sea and fertility, at the beaches of Rio Vermelho where people release flowers and other offerings into the sea.
Carnaval (Carnival): late February or early March, depending on the Easter date, begins on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and takes place over 5 days, with the last day of Carnival falling on Shrove Tuesday. Carnival is nationwide, with the biggest festivities taking place in Rio. – (National Holiday)
Semana Santa (Holy Week): The week before Easter, in March or April; celebrations in Congonhas, Ouru Preto, Cidade de Goias.
Good Friday: in March or April, depending on the Easter date. Good Friday is a national holiday in Brazil.
Easter Sunday: in March or April, depending on the Easter date. Like most of the world, Easter is a
Dia de Tiradentes (Tiradentes’ Day): on April 21 is the anniversary of the death of Tiradentes (1792), considered a national hero for being part of the Inconfidencia Mineira, an insurgent movement that aimed to establish an independent Brazilian republic from Portugal. (Public Brazil Holiday – National Holiday)
Dia do Trabalhador (Labor Day): on May 1, celebrates social and economic achievements and contributions of workers. (Public Brazil Holiday – National Holiday)
Festa do Divino Espirito Santo (Feast of the Holy Spirit): takes place in May or June, 50 days after Easter. It is one of the most important Catholic festivities in Brazil. It marks Pentecost, or the descent of the Holy Spirt upon Jesus Christ’s Apostles. It can be found in virtually all regions of the country. Paraty, on the coast southwest of Rio, hosts the best-known Festa do Divino in Brazil. Festivities last ten days and preparations take weeks.
Cavalhadas de Pirenopolis (Joust of Pirenopolis):
This festival takes place during the Feast of the Holy Spirit, 50 days after Easter in the city of Pirenopolis, Goias. It is basically a festival that takes you back to the medieval times and is held over three days featuring a series of medieval tournaments, mock battles, dances and festivities. The festival has been held since 1826.
Festa do Nordestino (Festival on the Northeast):
held at the the end of May and into the begining of June in Taubate, Sao Paulo (140km from the city of Sao Paulo). This festival honors the people of Northeast Brazil where people gather for food, dances, shows, presentations and entertainment that are typical of the Northeastern culture of Brazil.
Dia dos Namorados (Valentine’s Day): June 12 – Valentine’s Day in Brazil. This romantic day is where couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and flower bouquets.
Festival Folclorico do Amazonas (Folk Festival of the Amazon): held throughout the month of June in Manaus, Amazonas. The festival features over 100 different groups that do various styles of dance & music.
Parada do Orgulho LGBT de Sao Paulo (Sao Paulo LGBT Pride Parade): is an annual gay pride parade that happens along Avenida Paulista throughout June, in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. In 2006, it was considered the biggest pride parade of the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. It is the second largest event in the city of Sao Paulo, after the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Festival Folclorico de Parintins (Parintins Folklore Festival): takes place the last weekend in June in the city of Parintins, Amazonas. It is the second-largest annual festival in Brazil. During the three nights the festival has a presentation that explores the regional and thematic legends, rituals and customs of the local indigenous of the Amazon.
Festas Juninas (June Festival): traditional celebrations which were brought over to Brazil by Portuguese colonizers. It celebrates the saints: St. Anthony on June 13, St. John on June 24, and St. Peter on June 29. It is generally celebrated nationwide. In the Northeast of Brazil, these festivities involve costume-wearing, dancing, drinking, and fireworks.
Festa Literaria Internacional de Paraty (Paraty International Literary Festival): International literature festival in Paraty, which is on the coast southwest of Rio. This festival brings authors from around the world to Parati for five days. The event is typically scheduled in July.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week: happens twice a year, one in June, featuring the Spring/Summer collection, with models showcasing swimsuits and beachwear from top designers. And also in January, showcasing the Fall collection of top Brazilian designers.
Festival de Danca de Joinville (Dance Festival of Joinville): This dance festival is held every year during July in southern Brazil in the city of Joinville, Santa Catarina. It was created in 1983 and is currently considered by the Guinness Book of Records as the biggest event in the world in number of participants. The festival is usually held in the last two weeks of July for eight days. Along with the festival, various events occur, such as the Exhibition of Contemporary Dance (not competitive), the Festival Half Point (for children), Street Dance, Dance Slipper Fair, and a competitive dance competition. The Festival receives dance groups from Brazil and abroad who perform in seven genres: Classical Repertoire Ballet, Classical Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Tap Dance, Jazz, Street Dance and Popular Dances.
Regata de Jangadas (Raft Race): held in the second half of July of northeastern Brazil in the coastal city of Fortaleza, Ceara. It is a fun event created to celebrate the arrival of spring. The participants are from local merchants, residents and tourists, they create & decorate their own rafts and race from the main bridge, past the border, before returning to the starting point.
Festa do Peao de Boiadeiro (Cowboy Festival): The largest and most famous rodeo in Brazil. The festival is held every year in August in the Sao Paulo (state) city of Barretos.
Festa de Nossa Senhora da Boa Morte: is held typically in mid-August in Cacheoria near the banks of the Paraguacu River, in Bahia. It is organized by the Boa Morte sisterhood, which African-Brazilian women, all descendants of African slaves, pay tribute to their liberation with dance and prayer in a mix of Candomble and Catholicism.
Folclore Nordestino Festival (Folklore Festival of Northeast): this festival is held in late August in the coastal city of Olinda, Parnambuco (just north of Recife). The festival features dance, music, and folklore from many parts of northeast Brazil.
Festa de Nossa Senhora Achiropita (Feast of Our Lady Achiropita): Each year in August, the church of Paroquia Nossa Senhora Achiropita organizes a festival known as Festa de Nossa Senhora Achiropita, along the street in front of the church. It is located in the Bixiga neighborhood of the Bela Vista district. The festival celebrates the city’s Italian heritage, where you can find street stalls selling typical Italian foods like Italian pasta, pizza and fogazza.
Dia da Independencia (Independence Day): on September 7, celebrates the Declaration of Independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822. – (Public Brazil Holiday – National Holiday)
Festa do Saire – Festa du Caire: typically held in the second weeks of September in the Amazon village of Alter-do-Chao. Alter-do-Chao is a village 33km west from the Amazon port City of Santerem along one of the only roads in the state of Para, Brazil. The festival attracts thousands of tourists for three days, that feature musical shows, folklore dances & music.
Nossa Senhora de Aparecida (Our Lady of Aparecida): October 12 – commemorates the Virgin Mary as Nossa Senhora da Conceicao Aparecida, Patron Saint of Brazil. – (Public Holiday)
Dia da Criancas (Children’s Day): October 12
Cirio de Nazare: Occurs on the second Sunday in October for 15-days in Belem, Para. It honors the Virgin Mary of Nazareth and is the largest religious (catholic) event in Brazil that attracts nearly two million people. The event features street parades, cultural activities, and amusement parks.
Oktoberfest: In Brazil, several southern cities, populated by German people in the 19th and 20th centuries, have their own Oktoberfest. One of the biggest Oktoberfest outside Germany is in Blumenau, Santa Catarina that lasts over 20 days and attracts over a half million people. The event features beer drinking, parties, parades, music, dance and food, commemorating Brazilian ancestors that came from Germany.
Dia dos Finados (Day of the Dead): November 2 – similar to a memorial day, it remembers the deceased. – (Public Holiday – National Holiday)
Proclamacao da Republica (Proclamation of the Republic or Republic Day): November 15 – Commemorates the end of the Empire of Brazil and the proclamation of the Brazilian Republic on November 15, 1889. – (Public Brazil Holiday – National Holiday)
Grande Premio do Brasil (Brazilian Grand Prix): is a Formula One championship race that is typically held every year in November. The race is at the Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace in Interlagos, a district in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Micareta: are basically huge block parties that are held in several cities in Brazil, throughout different times of the year. It is basically an out-of-season Carnival, but different from the traditional carnival. Instead, people line the streets listening to a band where they sing and dancing to the sound of the music. Micareta can be done in the streets (traditional micareta) or in closed spaces (indoor micareta). Some of the most popular micareta in Brazil are Carnatal in Natal in the month of December; Pre-Caju is held in January in Aracaju; and Fortal is held in July in Fortaleza. In many of these cities, it is considered more important than the carnival.
Toyo Matsuri: Is a Japanese festival held every year in December. It is traditionally always held in the first weekend of December at Praca da Liberdade in the Liberdade district of the city of Sao Paulo. The festival consists of a variety of Japanese music and street dancing and Japanese cuisine.
Natal (Christmas Day): December 25, The birth of Christ. Brazil Holiday.
New Year’s Eve: December 31 – Everyone gets together with friends & family to bring in the new year.