Rio Carnival – the world’s greatest street party

If you’re party mad and still sitting at home in Australia, you’re in the wrong country.

You should head on over to Brazil before Easter to take part in their annual celebration of celebrating: The Rio Carnival.

Prepare for a festival of fun

As this is a hugely popular event, you’ll want to book all your tickets in as much advance as possible. That includes your airfares as well as hotels (they’ll book out fast), and tickets for some of the events themselves. At this stage you might want to consider reviewing Virgin Travel Insurance, as it could help to protect your adventure.

The origins of Rio Carnival

Many people believe that the Rio Carnival actually originated from ancient Greece.

It is thought that the Greeks would celebrate spring each year in honour of Dionysus, their god of wine. When the Roman Empire took over, they too adopted a similar festival in celebration of their own wine god. Further down the track, the Roman Catholic Church of the time tried to convert this celebration into something to celebrate the coming of Lent, though it turned into an annual party of indulgence, food and drink.

These days the festival is still hosted to celebrate the coming of Easter and Lent, and begins exactly 40 days before the holiday. The celebration lasts for just under a week, but most parties continue all day and all night – so it feels like longer!

What can you see and do during the Rio Carnival?

Samba Parade

Also known as the Rio Carnival Parade or Samba Schools Parade, this event is the absolute must-see during the festival. Nowhere else will you witness such an extravagant amount of colour and spectacle, dancing and moving to wonderful music.

The event does not take place through a normal street, however. A building was built specifically for the Samba Parade called the Sambodromo. This illustrious stadium is the stage for Rio’s many samba schools to take part in the ultimate parade competition, each showing off a flamboyant and colourful display based on a particular theme.

The event is broadcast live to multiple different countries, and the songs chosen to parade to by each samba school are released in advance to record stores. Rio Carnival is officially opened by the Greek god King Momo, and is possibly the most unforgettable experience of the entire week.

Street parties

When you’ve had your fill of awe-inspiring parades it’s time to head to the streets for some dancing of your own.

The emphasis during the carnival is on both spontaneity and pure fun, meaning street parties can pop up almost anywhere at almost any time. All over the city, particularly around hotspots such as the Sambodromo and along the beachfront, locals and tourists alike gather at their favourite bars to dance the week away.

The biggest event of this kind is at Cinelandia Square. During the week this area sways to the sound of highly acclaimed orchestras and other musicians, pumping joyful music to a smiling crowd between 5 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Have a ball

Lastly, if you have the time and money you should get a ticket to one of the many balls around Rio during this time.

There are numerous you can visit throughout the city, some with interesting themes and others that don’t require a costume of any kind. Obviously the ticket entry fee depends on which ball you visit, though you can expect the majority to be featuring a fantastic percussion band playing some of the best samba music you’ll ever witness.

Make sure to check out the Hard Rock Cafe’s Kid’s Party if you brought the little ones with you, or the luxurious Copacabana Palace Magic Ball.