Carnival

Carnival is an annual celebration that embraces the entire country, even a business centre like São Paulo. The celebrations have far more impact on Brazil and its economy than the Christmas and New Year holidays. Most offices and businesses will close for the week of Carnival.

Carnival is a moveable feast that is tied to the Roman Catholic calendar. Carnival takes place from the Friday prior to Ash Wednesday and continues up to and including Ash Wednesday itself. In some cities and towns the celebrations take over the entire week and the following weekend.

Rio de Janeiro is the most famous and the largest of Brazil’s carnival celebrations, but there are equally impressive carnival activities in Salvador, Recife and Olinda. In Rio the focus is on samba and the parade of the samba schools organised by the League of Samba Schools on the Sunday and Monday evenings; in Salvador the focus is on the Trio Electricos and the Axé bands that parade through the city; while in Recife and Olinda the driving beat comes from frevo, maracatu and other traditional rhythms.

Wherever you stay in Brazil during carnival, you won’t be far from music and a carnival party. Tickets for most major carnival activities can be reserved in advance through the better tour operators.

Carnival is just one of the many celebrations and festivities that take place throughout the year in Brazil. Highlights include the Festa do Divino held just before Pentecost Sunday (late May or early June); the June festivals (Festa Junina) linked to the feasts of saints John, Anthony, and Peter; Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, on October 12, which is also a national holiday; October also sees the festival of Círio de Nazaré in the city of Belém, at the mouth of the Amazon. The Amazon also has its own carnival, the Boi Bumba, which takes place over the last weekend in June in Parintins, a town 250 miles (800 km) downstream from Manaus.

Another major spectacular is seeing in the New Year on Rio’s Copacabana Beach. You will be one of around 3 million people on the beach, the vast majority dressed in white. Hotel beachfront rooms are, not surprisingly, at a premium at this time. While Rio and the rest of Brazil are honouring Iemanjá, the Queen of the Sea, Salvador celebrates the festival of Bom Jesus dos Navegantes.

Up coming dates for Carnival in Brazil (Friday-Wednesday) are:

  • 2019: 1-6 March
  • 2020: 21-26 February
  • 2021: 12-17-February
  • 2022: 25 February-2 March
  • 2023: 17-22 February
  • 2024: 9-14 February
  • 2025: 28 February-5 March

This amazing tilt shift video, The City of Samba by Keith Loutit and Jarbas Agnelli will give you a little taste of the Rio carnival parade, even in the rain, and the city itself.

For a full explanation of the Rio carnival parade CLICK HERE

The main parades of the Grupo Especial will next take place on the nights of Sunday, 3 March and Monday, 4 March 2019. The 14 schools parading (and when they are scheduled to start) are:

Sunday, 3 March 2019

  • Imperio Serrano (21.15)
  • Viradouro (22.20)
  • Grande Rio (23.25)
  • Salgueiro (00.30)
  • Beija-Flor (01.35)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (02.40)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (03.45)

Monday, 4 March 2019

  • São Clemente (21.15)
  • Vila Isabel (22.20)
  • Portela (23.25)
  • União da Ilha (00.30)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (01.35)
  • Mangueira (02.40)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (03.45)

Normally six schools parade on Sunday night and six on Monday , but as no schools were relegated in 2017 and 2018, seven schools will parade each night in 2019.

Based on the results of the last five carnivals (2014-2018), the League of Samba Schools (LIESA) ranks the top ten samba schools in Rio de Janeiro as:

  1. Salgueiro (64 points)
  2. Portela (62)
  3. Beija-Flor (58)
  4. Unidos da Tijuca (49)
  5. Mangueira (42)
  6. Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (33)
  7. Grande Rio (30)
  8. Imperatriz Leopoldinense (27)
  9. União da Ilha do Governador (16)
  10. Paraíso do Tuiuti (15)

Schools score 20 points for a win, 15 for 2nd, 12 for 3rd, 10 for 4th, 8 for 5th, 6 for 6th, 4 for 7th, 3 for 8th, 2 for 9th and 1 for 10th.

The results of Rio’s Carnival Parade in 2018 were:

  • Beija-Flor (269.6 points out of 270)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (269.5)
  • Salgueiro (269.5)
  • Portela (269.94)
  • Mangueira (269.3)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (269.3)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (269.1)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (268,8)
  • Vila Isabel (268.1)
  • União da Ilha (267.3)
  • São Clemente (266.9)
  • Grande Rio (266.8)
  • Imperio Serrano (265.6)

and in 2017 were:

  • Portela (269.9 points out of 270)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (269.9 points out of 270)
  • Salgueiro (269.7)
  • Mangueira (269.6)
  • Grande Rio (269.4)
  • Beija-Flor (269.2)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (268,5)
  • União da Ilha (267.8)
  • Vila Isabel (267.4)
  • São Clemente (267.4)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (266.8)
  • Paraíso do Tuiuti (264.6)
screen-shot-2017-03-01-at-22-27-23

Portela, the winning school in 2017 along with Mocidade

and in 2016

  • Mangueira (269.8 points out of 270)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (269.7)
  • Portela (269.7)
  • Salgueiro (269.5)
  • Beija-Flor (269.3)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (269.2)
  • Grande Rio (268.7)
  • Vila Isabel (267.9)
  • São Clemente (267.8)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (266.5)
  • União da Ilha (265.8)
  • Estácio de Sá (265.0)
Mangueira, the winning school in 2016

Mangueira, the winning school in 2016

and in 2015:

  • Beija-Flor (269.9 points out of 270)
  • Salgueiro (269.5)
  • Grande Rio (269.0)
  • Portela (269.0)
  • Unidos da Tijuca (269.0)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (268.9)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (268.5)
  • São Clemente (268.4)
  • União da Ilha do Governador (267.2)
  • Mangueira (267.1)
  • Unidos de Vila Isabel (266.2)
  • Viradouro (263.7)
Beija flor 01

Beija Flor, the winning school in 2015

and in 2014…

  • Unidos da Tijuca (299.4 points out of 300)
  • Salgueiro (299.3)
  • Portela (299.0)
  • União da Ilha do Governador (298.4)
  • Imperatriz Leopoldinense (297.6)
  • Grande Rio (297.20)
  • Beija-Flor (296.4)
  • Mangueira (296.2)
  • Mocidade Independente de Padre Miguel (296.0)
  • Unidos de Vila Isabel (295.9)
  • São Clemente (294.3)
  • Imperio da Tijuca (291.6)
Unidos da Tijuca, the winning school in 2014

Unidos da Tijuca, the winning school in 2014

Vila Isabel, the winning samba school in 2013.

Vila Isabel, the winning samba school in 2013.

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Christopher Pickard – Brazil the Guide – Critical Divide
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