"History" Top 5 Page for this destination Carnaval Tip by Willettsworld

Carnaval, Rio de Janeiro: 58 reviews and 88 photos


Where to begin with Carnaval! Carnaval is a holiday that originated from various pagan spring festivals. It all started in Rio when it was imported from Italy in the late 19th century with Carnaval balls which then lead to legendary balls in the Copacabana Palace Hotel in the golden era from the 1930's to 50's.

The Samba Parade started in the 1930's in Parco XI and then later on it moved to Ave Presidente Vargas. Now the parade takes place in a purposely built street that is lined with grandstand seats known as the Sambadrome. It's been here since 1984 and is what you see on your TV's back home. The parade is made up from different Samba Schools or clubs from each favela (shantytown) who start to rehearse and get ready up to 6 months before the actual event.

As well as the Samba Parade, there are a whole host of other activities that happen around the time the parade takes place such as balls, street carnavals (also known as Bloc Parties) and dances.

Carnaval not only happens in Rio but all over Brazil but it's normally said that the best one happens in Rio although other city's such as San Paulo may say there's is better! All the major Carnavals are broadcast on TV to huge audiences where the winning school is announced a few days later after judges scores have been added. I watched some of this in the airport when flying back home and there were a lot of other people watching as well.

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Oct 4, 2005
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