Rio de Janeiro Events
Rio de Janeiro Carnival
Simply the world's greatest party, the annual carnival in Rio de Janeiro is one of the wildest extravaganzas on the planet. The main carnival parade in the huge, purpose-built Sambódromo comes alive with a riot of colour, outlandish floats, throngs of gyrating dancers and pounding drummers, all shaking to intoxicating samba rhythms.
Rio's carnival starts on Saturday and ends on Ash Wednesday. Escolas de Samba ('Samba Schools') from each city neighbourhood compete to see which can parade the best, loudest, and most creatively decorated floats, carrying samba bands and accompanied by dancers and other performers. Before, during and after the main parades (held on Sunday and Monday), there are many other events across the city, including music shows, carnival balls and separate parades for the lesser samba schools.Date: 21 February 2020 - 29 February 2020
Venue: Sambódromo, Avenida Marquês de Sapucaí, Santo Cristo.
The most important date in the Catholic calendar, Rio marks Holy Week with religious processions, ceremonies and masses across the city. One of the biggest ceremonies takes place at the Catedral Metropolitana, home of Rio’s patron saint, Santo Sebastião, with a commemorative liturgy celebrating the passion and death of Christ. Afterwards there is a procession accompanied by the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, bearing a fragment of the Holy Cross. The Igreja de Nossa Senhora de Copacabana (Church of Our Lady of Copacabana) also conducts a procession, with drummers and participants dressed as Roman soldiers.Date: 10 April 2020 - 10 April 2020
Venue: Catedral Metropolitana, Avenida República do Chile 245, Centro, and throughout the city.
Dia do Indio (Indian Day)
The annual Day of the Indian is an important date celebrated throughout Brazil, but with special activities held in Rio’s superb Museu do Indio, honouring the nation’s 600,000 indigenous peoples. Events at the museum include ceremonial dances, live music performances, exhibitions and film screenings.Date: 19 April 2020 - 19 April 2020
Venue: Museu do Indio.
This is a New World twist on an old European Catholic tradition, brought to Brazil by the first Portuguese settlers. In Mediterranean countries, the Fiesta de San Juan (Saint John) falls on the summer solstice, and is celebrated with bonfires. Rio extends this June festival to include Santo Antonio (Saint Anthony) on 13 June, São João (St John), 11 days later and São Pedro (Saint Peter) on 29 June.
On three separate evenings, in private homes, in clubs, and in public places all over Rio, stalls are set out to resemble village market places and are decorated with streamers and lanterns. Against the glow of bonfires there is much dancing, eating and drinking. In mock weddings, couples follow the old tradition of leaping the flames. Many other events also take place in the weeks before and after the saints’ days, in venues all across the city.
Venue: Rio de Janeiro.
FLIP – Paraty International Literary Festival
Launched in 2003, this book-fest in the historic little coastal town of Paraty, close to Rio, is now rated as one of the best of its kind in the world. Leading Brazilian authors are joined by major international names, with previous visitors including Margaret Atwood, Carol Ann Duffy, Nadim Gordimer, Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Colm Toibim. The five-day festival features readings, conferences, and round-table debates, plus a lively mix of music, food and dance.Date: 29 July 2020 - 02 August 2020
Venue: Various venues in Paraty.
Rio International Film Festival
The 'Festival do Rio' is the city's International Film Festival. In recent years Brazilian films based in Rio, such as Central Station, City of God, and Favela Rising have received worldwide acclaim. This major festival showcases well over 500 feature films, documentaries and shorts, with screenings taking place in various venues throughout the city. Proceedings are dominated by the award of the coveted Golden Lion prize. In addition to the films, there's also an entertainment programme including live music and parties.Date: 01 November 2020 - 31 December 2020
(Date to be confirmed)
Venue: Various venues in Rio.
Outdoor concerts and parties all over the city culminate in a massive fireworks display on Copacabana Beach to mark Rio’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, its second biggest bash after Carnival. Up to one million people gather on the sands, so get there early to stake your place.Date: 31 December 2020 - 31 December 2020
Venue: Copacabana Beach and seafront.