Carnival (Carnaval) - February or March
The most famous and the biggest, Carnival draws more than two million spectators every year. The party is at its biggest in Rio, there are also celebrations in Salvador and Olinda. See the parades of samba schools descend on the streets, hear the beat of the drums and witness the colourful costumes. The streets are transformed into a party of a lifetime, one you’ll never forget! Just bear in mind, hotels get booked up months in advance, so book early.
Semana Santa - April or May
In Ouro de Preto, Semana Santa is celebrated the week before Easter (Holy Week), one of the most traditional and ancient festivals in Brazil. Semana Santa dates back to the 8th Century, with many colourful processions, orchestras and beautifully decorated streets – covered with carpet made of flower petals. As this is a religious festival, you will also find re-enactments of the Resurrection of Christ.
Festa de Iemanjá - 2nd February
This festical takes place every year on the 2nd February and honours Iemanjá (the goddess of the sea). Iemanjá is often represented as a mermaid with long hair which blows in the wind. If you head down to the beach you will witness Brazilians making offerings to the sea (flowers, jewellery, perfume). Boats are launched into the surf in the hope that Iemanjá will give good luck for the coming year. It wouldn’t be a Brazilian festival if it didn’t end in dancing, so head out in the evening and enjoy the many lively street parties.