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Experience the Amazing Rio Carnival

The Magic of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

The Magic of Carnival in Rio de Janeiro

From the beautiful beaches of Rio de Janeiro to Rio Carnival and the Rio Nightlife, the type of energy that the city of Rio emulates is just simply electrifying. What is even more exhilarating are the deliciously bronzed samba dancers, the pulsating music, the energy and applause of the spectators filled with Cariocas and visitors from around the world who call come to the same place to experience the world famous Rio Carnival.

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The city glows with the smiles and energy of the locals or Cariocas. Samba music can be heard coming from neighborhoods throughout the city and crowds gather to dance and play all day, night and straight into the next morning. It is the inherent spirit of the Cariocas and their true joie de vivre that makes Rio Carnival such a glorious success year after year!

2023 Rio Carnival Guide and Program

Here you will learn all about the events of Rio Carnival 2023: the glorious Sambadrome Parades, with Rio de Janeiro's 12 most elite samba schools making up the Special Group parading at the main two parades on Carnivals Sunday and Monday, February 19th and 20th -- the other 15 samba schools that make up the Access Group parade down the Samba runway on Friday and Saturday, February 17th and 18th in a fierce competition for a spot among the Special Group in the following year's Rio Carnival.

Explore the stage of Rio Carnival, the Sambadrome, its sectors and purchase tickets for the big show. Find an entire section about costumes that can be used to assist those who want to take part in the biggest party on the planet and parade with a real samba school. You will also find useful information on how to secure hotel accommodations, book tickets to the parade and directions on how to get to sambadrome using the safe subway system. Still have questions? Contact our Rio Carnival Helpdesk!

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The World Is Watching

While preparations continue for the Carnival all year round, technical rehearsals by the samba schools are held at the Sambadrome for a few weeks before the big weekend of competition. This is the prelude to the most extravagant, beautiful, and sexy spectacle, which the whole world waits for with baited breath. For every Carioca, this is a sign that their much awaited four-day holiday is around the corner.

The Carnival is watched on television sets all over the world. The energy and spirit of the celebration transcend the one-dimensional view from the TV to captivate each viewer and draw him or her into the excitement and ecstasy of the festival.

Rio Carnival Floats 

How it all started

There are many theories as to the origin of the Carnival with stories of it being a pagan celebration in ancient Rome. Carnival balls became popular in Rio in the nineteenth century with legendary balls held at the Copacabana Palace Hotel and the Municipal Theater. The inevitable influence of Afro-Brazilian culture in the form of the samba heralded the beginning of the Samba Parade in the 1930s.

It is the ethnic melting pot of Rio that makes this festival unlike any in the world. The combination of the cultural diversity and Brazilian swing rhythm is what makes the Carnival in Rio so unique. 

Four Nights of Competition

Each samba school has 70 minutes to parade down the strip at the Sambadrome. The Rio Carnival kicks off with the opening ceremony on Friday where King Momo is crowned by Rio’s mayor. In the evening the first day of the samba school parades sets the tone for the next four days of revelry combined with an intense show of dance, theater, arts and music.

On Friday and Saturday, members of the Access Group strut their stuff in the hopes of joining the major league players. Sunday and Monday are reserved for the best samba schools vying for the championship spot where six of the finest march on the following Saturday.

Mangueira Float at the Rio Carnival

Glorious Themes and Samba Schools

The schools of samba are a musical genre symbolizing Brazil. At the Sambadrome each school plays out its own story with a common theme ranging from politics to arts and sports. What everyone looks forward to apart from the dancers is each team’s unique song, creative costumes, and choreography.

Each Samba School tries to be more creative than its competitor. From levitation to a flying astronaut, the Sambadrome is always full of surprises. And each year the schools seem more and more creative as rich imagination give way to show stopping flights of fancy.

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