Brazil's liveliest carnival

Pernambuco carnival is bigger than Rio's, just as spectacular, and much less well known, says Brazil Handbook author Alex Robinson.

(c) Alex Robinson


The twin cities of Olinda and Recife in the Brazilian state of Pernambuco are the focus of Brazil’s largest and most vibrant traditional carnival, which kicked off the first weekend of March this year. Unlike the Rio and Salvador carnivals, all the events are free.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Recife’s Galo da Madrugada parade on the first day of carnival is the biggest carnival parade in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, with some 1.5 million partygoers flooding the streets.

Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Olinda and Recife carnivals remain public street celebrations - unlike Rio or Salvador. Locals wear all manner of costumes.

Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Superman betrays Lois Lane at Olinda carnival.

Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Maestro band leader Siba is one of the star attractions on the big Marco Zero sound stage in Recife’s old city centre.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Carnival performer from the tiny town of Nazaré da Mata.

Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Another performer from Nazaré da Mata; the small town hosts one of the liveliest and most traditional carnival parades in Pernambuco.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Street performers from Nazaré da Mata.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Giant boneco or mameluco puppets parade through the streets of Olinda throughout carnival.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

There is no samba in Pernambuco carnival – the regional carnival dance is frevo. Troupes of dancers perform this mesmerising acrobatic dance throughout carnival.


Alex Robinson, www.alexrobinsonphotography.co.uk

Mameluco puppets include effigies of local politicians and celebrities.



Alex Robinson is co-author of Footprint's Brazil Handbook.
This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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