Festivals in Brazil

Festivals in Brazil happen all year round, with most concentrated in June and around Carnaval at the beginning of Lent.

Festivals in Brazil: Festival in Pernambuco by Alex Robinson

Festivals in Brazil: Calendar

January

Procissão de Nosso Senhor dos Navegantes
, Salvador, Bahia is big procession and a key event of the
candomblé
calendar. Festa do Bonfim also happens in January (see www.bahia-online.net/festas). São Paulo fashion week
, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, is the most important event on the Latin American fashion calendar attended by models and designers from all over the world.

February

Festa de Yemanjá
, Rio Vermelho, Salvador, Bahia is dedicated to the
candomblé orixá
(spirit) of the sea and a great place to hear authentic live Bahian bands. Pré-Caju
, a pre-carnival carnival in Aracajú, Sergipe takes place 15 days before Salvador carnival and with a similar vibe, though on a far smaller scale (see www.setur.se.gov.br).

February/March

Carnaval
, Brazil's biggest festival takes place throughout the country and most famously in Rio's
sambódromo
stadium. For a wild street party head for Salvador; for something more authentic and traditional, Recife; and for a Brazilian crowd entirely free of foreign tourists, try one of the city's in Brazil's interior like Cidade de Goiás, www.vilaboadegoias.com.br/carnaval, or Ouro Preto, www.carnavalouropreto.com.

March

Chocofest
, Canela, Serra Gaucha, Rio Grande do Sul is a pre-Easter chocolate-fest with parades, 100,000 visitors and chocolate. See www.canelaturismo.com.br.

April

Festa de Nossa Senhora da Penha
 in Vila Velha, Vitória, Espírito Santo is a series of spectacular processions celebrating the saint's day of the city's patron (see www.conventodapenha.org.br).The Festa do Açaí
,
Festa da Castanha and Festa do Cupuaçu
 take place in Codajás, Tefé and Presidente Figueiredo, Amazonas. These three festivals are devoted to three of the best Amazonian foods: the
açai
energy berry,
cupuaçu
and the Brazil nut. Cuiafolia
, the biggest festival of the year in Mato Grosso where the capital, Cuiabá, erupts into a mock-Bahian carnival powered by cheesy Bahian
axé
acts (see www.cuiafolia.com.br).

June

Boi Bumba
 in Parintins, Amazonas is a huge spectacle re-enacting the Boi story, with two competing teams, enormous floats and troupes of dancers which takes place on an island in the Amazon (see www.boibumba.com). Festas Juninhas
(Festas do São João) happens in Campina Grande, Paraíba, Caruru, Pernambuco and throughout Brazil. It is Brazil's major winter festival when everyone dresses up as a yokel, drinks hot spiced wine and dances
forró
.

July

Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty
(
FLIP
), in Paraty, Rio de Janeiro is the country's premier literary festival attracting big names like Salman Rushdie and Alice Walker (see www.flip.org.br). Fortal
Brazil's largest out of season carnival in Fortaleza powered mostly by Bahian music, but with a few more interesting fringe acts (see
www.fortal.com.br).

August

Festa da Nossa Senhora D'Ajuda
 in Arraial d'Ajuda, Bahia sees festivals and processions celebrate the town's patron saint (see www.arraial-dajuda.com.br). Festival de Gramado
 in Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul is Latin America's largest film festival (see www.festivaldegramado.net). Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro
 in Barretos, São Paulo state is the biggest rodeo in the world, with a legion of Brazil's cheesiest music stars and legions of cowboys riding bulls (see www.festadopeaode americana.com.br).

October

The Brazilian Grand Prix
 takes place in São Paulo (see www.formula1.com). Carnoporto
 is Porto Seguro's huge out of season carnival with all the top cheesy Bahian bands and big crowds (see www.axemoifolia.com.br). Oktoberfest
 in Blumenau, Santa Catarina (see www.oktoberfest.com.br) is worth a look. Jogos dos Povos Indígenas
, where indigenous people from throughout the country gather for the Brazilian equivalent of the Highland games, with wrestling, archery, javelin throwing and general celebrations (see www.funai.gov.br/ indios/jogos/jogos_indigenas.htm).

November

Círio de Nazaré
, in Belém and throughout Pará and Amazonas states is one of the largest religious celebrations in Brazil. There are huge crowds, long precessions and many live music and cultural events.

December

Reveillon
, New Year's Eve. This is a huge party all over Brazil, and biggest of all on Copacabana beach in Rio. In São Paulo celebrations centre on the city's main Av Paulista, which is lined with sound stages and packed with partygoers.

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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