More than just Carnaval

Brazil’s most famous party experience has to be Carnaval (That’s carnival in Portuguese by the way, one of the more simple translations…). Held every year on the Friday to the Tuesday preceding Ash Wednesday, celebrations for Carnaval happen all over the country from the famed parades in Rio’s Sambodrome, to mud slinging matches in Paraty and street parties in Salvador. During this period it is as if there is a party on every corner. But it is not just Carnaval that has earned Brazil its reputation as the party country of the world. Many other celebrations happen throughout the year here and I thought I’d highlight a few of these less known, but just as impressive events.

Reveillon and Festa de Iemanja, Rio de Janeiro, 31st Dec-1st Jan


Looks like midnight in Rio

 The second biggest party in Brazil’s calendar has to be Reveillon, the New Year’s celebration that happens in Rio de Janeiro. At the turn of the year, millions of tourists and cariocas (the term for Rio’s city folk) swarm to Copacabana beach to make good use of the live music and DJs on offer, playing on stages which line the beach, and to watch the spectacular fireworks display light up the coast.

But a lot of people don’t just head down to the beach to party, but to take part in the Festa de Iemanja. You will see many people dressed in white and blue, casting flowers, perfume, rice and other gifts adrift in little paper boats. These are offerings to Iemanja, goddess of the water and mother of all gods in the Umbanda religion of Brazil. The traditional event stands in stark contrast to the modern celebrations of Reveillon, but both make for a great night out in Brazil.

If you miss the Festa de Iemanja in Rio, then be sure to catch it in Salvador on 2nd February.

Lavagem do Bonfim (Washing of Bonfim church), Salvador, second Thursday in January 

Pass the squeegee!

During this celebration, thousands line up alongside the Church of the Bonfim on Monserrat Hill in Salvador and proceed to clean it. Afterwards there is an 8Km parade with plenty of singing and dancing. Bahian culture is formed from the different cultures that have been imported to the region over Brazil’s history and the Washing of Bonfim Church provides a stark example of this. The act of washing the church is traditionally Portuguese but the chants you’ll hear from the crowds are spoken in Yoruba, a West-African language.

Bumba Meu Boi, Sao Luis, late June to the second week of August 

Great excuse for a party!

Bumba Meu Boi is a Brazilian folktale and during the celebrations you will see it acted out. Whilst there are many variations, the basic version goes a little something like this. A farm-hand kills an ox to give the tongue to his wife. The farmer, finding his ox dead, enlists the help of shaman to bring the ox back to life. With the ox successfully bought back to life, the farmer forgives the farm-hand and in true Brazilian style, they all have a party to celebrate. If you head to Bumba Meu Boi you can expect to see this tale performed with vivid costumes, dance and plenty of sounds all drawing heavily from Brazilian Native Amerindian traditions.

Boi Bumba, Parintins, 28th June-30th June 

Bumba Meu Boi on acid

Boi Bumba is similar to Bumba Meu Boi but with modern flare. In fact the best way to think about it is as a cross between the Traditional styling of Sao Luis’s Bumba Meu Boi and the extravagant flamboyance of Rio’s Carnaval celebrations. Here you can expect the folkloric tale of the ox to be told with giant costumes and throngs of dancers and performers in scenes reminiscent of those found in Rio’s famed Sambadromo during Carnaval. Well worth checking out!

As an aside, if you do find yourself in Parintins for Boi Bumba, or at any other point, look out for Coca-Cola as bizarrely, this is the only place in the world where it isn’t branded in the colour red but instead blue. Odd!

Be Sociable, Share!

About The Author


Dan works for RealBrazil - the UK specialists in tailormade holidays to Brazil.

Other posts by

Author his web site


05 2011

4 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    A black and white-checked mini-corset bared the midriff, atop a vast red taffeta crinoline; and a ‘prairie girl’ gown, in tobacco, was finished with a studded leather belt which trailed down the back.

  2. 2

    Last week Amanda formally ushered in you to the Mulberry Alexa Bags , a looked for create from Mulberry labelled after Alexa Chung. Let me table some of the justifications why I love the Mulberry Alexa line. First off, the vibe is downtown cool. Second, we love Alexa Chung and her approach, so any kind labelled after her and infused with her London Chic approach passes the investigate for us. Next, the charge of this line is wholly rational (honestly, it is hard to go beyond up). These are just a small number justifications we delve this line. This brand label handbag owns the approach of nostalgia and individuality, which make every women love it very much. The Alexa bag that has shown up at Net A Porter right now contributes a radiant and pleasure explode of shade of color with the its yellow buffalo-leather and gold-tone hardware. People have requested about the straps and they have a magnetic closure, which makes them pleasure to view at and operational, being not hard to entry to the principle compartment. Bright pink leopard issue on a comparable view to the Alexa satchel, the Alexa Clutch in addition sports buckle fastening details. Buy the clutch by Net A Porter for $695. The Alexa line has came and not only are we geared up, we are excited! If we chat who like the Mulberry pouches most, it ought owned by to Alexa Chung. Alexa Chung is one of the renowned It Girl. She can use any kind of Mulberry Bags on divergent functions and is a dan of Mulberry. She often carries the men Mulberry Bags in the street; She carries Mulberry Alexa for once a day use.

  3. 3

    This season Vivienne Westwood and Melissa have once again teamed up to produce yet another range of footwear, with everything from sling back heels, to flat pumps to ankle boots. Designs vary from stylish buttons, to glitter, to such cute designs as wax seals, cherries, and hearts on toes of shoes.In a twist that sets them aside from other brands, Vivienne Westwood Melissa shoes are made entirely from PVC. In beautiful colours, often cute pastels, the shoes really stand out and give a really girly look. There are even several styles for children.

  4. 4

    I Red Dress CoVivienne Westwood UK, LtdVivienne Westwood UK is a clothing brand founded by Qingdao local famous designer Zhang Yihua, after several years of cultivation, has formed a certain brand awareness, and adhere to the high-end custom marketingVivienne Westwood UK

Your Comment