We all think we know Carnival. The bright colours, the feathers, the music. It’s the most popular festival in Brazil after all – but we’ve dug a little deeper to find out some fun facts you can cram before you start dancing.
Carnival in Numbers
- 40 days before Easter, Carnival begins and is held for 5 days.
- 500,000 foreign visitors attend carnival every year.
- 2 million people take to the streets every day.
- 10 million litres of beer are consumed every year.
Beat the Meat
There’s a folklore that says Carnival comes from the Latin ‘Carnis Valles’ which roughly translates as ‘farewell meat’ because it begins before the Lent period.
So, all that dancing, drinking and fun is really just to say goodbye to steak dinners.
Carnival Begins at Home
It’s not just a Brazilian event either, Carnival is celebrated all over the world.
There’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans and in Venice slightly creepy masks are a common feature on the streets.
But there can be no imitators. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Brazil’s Carnival as the biggest in the world.
Take it to the Streets
Carnival is celebrated either on the city streets of places like Rio and Salvador or in the popular Samba Parade.
The parades are broadcasted live to the entire country and there are competitions among local communities from favelas called samba schools.
Held in the Sambodromo, the schools are judged on how elaborate their floats and costumes are as well as their dancing and music. Some schools spend over $4 million on their endeavours.
A Bloco For Everyone
There are around 587 street parties known as blocos held in the city from mid-January to mid-February with all the bands, costumes and wild parties you might expect.
But did you know that there’s a bloco for everyone?
From old people to those with mental health issues, Carnival has a space for all to party!