Brazilians are fun-loving people. In this land of various races and ethnic groups, there is a vibrant and lively culture that is celebrated through the many celebrations, carnivals, and festivals, as well as parades, rallies, and other events all through the year, and especially in the summer.
The biggest events are the stunning Carnaval as well as a variety of religious celebrations that are popular and linked to Catholicism, as well as a mixture of syncretic practices. The weather is varied in the summer, but generally remains warm, which makes it ideal for celebrations outdoors.
The seasons aren’t as evident, except for south and the southeastern region of Brazil, where temperatures are moderate during the spring and autumn, and drop dramatically in winter.
Brazil is preparing for spring, as flowers start to decorate the landscape. It also prepares for celebrations that will last throughout the season. The most remarkable spring celebrations are related to the Catholic religion, but the highly charged Brazilian Grand Prix also generates great excitement.
Expoflora Holambra (Sao Paulo state).
There are more than 1,000 species of flora available for purchase. Dutch folk dances, music, and Dutch and Brazilian food are also featured, emphasizing the town’s Dutch character.
International Fishing Festival
Caceres (Mato Grosso), 2nd fortnight. The Guinness World Records has listed the event as the largest fishing tournament in the world. It attracts over 1,500 participants.
Sao Paulo International Film Festival (2nd Fortnight), Sao Paulo
The festival will screen around 350 films from over 50 countries and lasts for two weeks.
Sao Paulo Art Biennial, Oct-Dec, even Years), Sao Paulo.
A stunning display of modern visual arts can be found at the Parque do Ibirapuera.
Cirio de Nazare (2nd Sun), Belem.
The procession of Our Lady of Nazareth follows the Romaria fluvial pilgrimage one day earlier.
Oktoberfest (mid-Oct), Blumenau (Santa Catarina).
This lively street party is second only to Munich’s and celebrates German music, beer and the way of life.
Brazilian Formula 1 Grand Prix (late October), Sao Paulo
The race takes place at Interlagos Circuit and is often the last round of Formula 1 season.
Recifolia (last Week), Recife.
Bahian bands are a lively party that attracts crowds to dance the entire week.
Padre Cicero Pilgrimage (Nov 2), Juazeiro do Norte (Paraiba).
On Dia de Finados (All Saints’ Day), thousands visit the statue of patron saint Padre Zicero and the church where his ashes are buried.
Belo Horizonte: National Handicraft Fair, late Nov/early December
An important exhibition and sale handicrafts from Brazil. Many of the crafts can also be learned in interactive workshops.
Brazilians consider summer the most important season of the year. It is the start of the year, and vacation time. Although it rains heavily, the sun shines through.
There are many outdoor events that mark the arrival of summer. Trade fairs also take place. Carnaval is the culmination of summer.
Festa Santa Barbara (Dec 4), Salvador.
Three-day long popular Candomble ceremony at Fonte Santa Barbara. Yansa in Candomble is the image of Santa Barbara that is carried around the streets of the historic centre.
Carnatal (early December), Natal
The Out-of-Season Carnaval is where well-known bands perform their repertoire with crowds of people dancing and singing through the streets.
Sao Silvestre Race (Dec 31), Sao Paulo.
For a 9-mile (15 km) race through Sao Paulo, amateur and recreational runners will join professional athletes.
Reveillon at Copacabana (Dec 31), Rio de Janeiro.
Party on Copacabana Beach with performances by pop stars, and lavish fireworks display at Forte de Copacabana Hotel and Windsor Atlantica Hotel.
In boats of various sizes and shapes, a samba school percussion group marches across Baia de Ilha Grande.
A galliot is a long, wooden ship that transports the image of Our Lord, the Navigators. It is followed by hundreds of fishing boats.
Lavagem do Bonfim (2nd Thu), Salvador.
A colourful parade and ceremonial washing (lavagem), of the steps of Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Bonfim.
Fest Verao Paraiba (early-mid Jan), Joao Pessoa.
This is the largest country music festival, featuring big Brazilian acts. It takes place over three weeks.
Festas dos Ticumbi & Alardo (Jan 19 & 20), Itaunas.
People wearing colorful clothing pay tribute to Sao Bento, Sao Sebastiao and the sounds of traditional music.
Pre Caju (end January), Aracaju.
One of the many micaretas (outside-season Carnaval), before the actual Carnaval in February/March.
Festa de Sao Lazaro (last Sun), Salvador.
Festival in honor of Omolu, Candomble deity and God of Plague
Pescadores do Rio Vermelho (Feb 2), Salvador.
A procession of boats carrying offering to Yemanja, Goddess of the Sea, was accompanied by Afro-Brazilian music.
Boat procession along the Rio Guaiba, bearing Yemanja’s image
Rio de Janeiro is the home of the most well-known Carnaval. Salvador and Olinda have their own fantastic celebrations.
Festa Nacional da Uva (Feb/Mar, biennial, even years), Caxias do Sul.
The festival’s highlight is wine production, which preserves the traditions and customs of early Italian immigrants.
The autumn season is in Southern Brazil and the Southeast. It is characterized by cool temperatures and steady breezes. With great enthusiasm, religious festivals like the Semana Santa or Festa do Divino Espirito Sato are celebrated. Hot-Air Balloon Festival adds another attraction.
International Book Biennial (Mar/Apr), Sao Paulo (even years) and Rio de Janeiro (oddyears).
This fair will be held for 10 days and feature book launches, author talks, lectures, and cultural performances.
Semana Santa (Mar/Apr), across Pernambuco & Minas Gerais.
Nova Jerusalem hosts the Play Paixao de Cristo (Passion of Christ), which is performed by over 500 professional actors. The audience is also involved. Crowds often accompany religious procession in Minas Gerais’s historic towns.
Sao Paulo Fashion Week (late Mar/early Apr), Sao Paulo.
These fashion shows feature top Brazilian models and fashion designer. It is also held in January.
Procissao do Fogareu (Wed before Good Friday), Cidade de Goias.
The Semana Santa solemn procession is a time when the Semana Santa burial and resurrection are reenacted to the beat of tambours.
Festa Nacional da Maca (Apr/May), Sao Joaquim (Santa Catarina).
Exhibitions, musical shows and performances of German folk music, as well the bestowing of “best apple producer” title.
Torres International Balloon Festival (Easter Week)
the annual hot-air balloon festival in Torres, with the participation of 60 balloons from all over the world. This festival has been taking place since 1989. Additional attractions include a rodeo competition and a parachute show.
Festa do Bembe do Mercado (approx May 13), Santo Amaro.
This festival commemorates the 1889 abolishment of slavery. The festival also features traditional Bahian music and dance per formances.
Festa do Divino Espirito Santo (May/Jun, 45 days after Easter), Pirenopolis & Alcantara.
Mock battles are held between Christians and Moors. Parties forro and sertanejo are held.
Visitors will find the south and southeastern regions attractive because of their cooler climates. Brazil’s June celebrations are the beginning of international music and art festivals.
Festas Juninas (weekends through June), across Southeast Brazil. Homage is offered to St. Antony (Jun 13), St. John (Jun 24), and St. Peter (Jun 29).
The festivities that take place at the arraiá (imitations of old country villas) are marked by traditional feasting.
Festa do Pinhão (early Jun), Lages (Santa Catarina).
Celebrating the edible pinhao (seed of the Paraná pine), the festival includes lively music performances.
Festa do Bumba-meu-boi (whole month), São Luís.
Improvised songs and dances by skilled performers tell the story of the death and resurrection of a bull.
Festa do Boi Bumbá (Jun 28–30), Parintins.
In Amazonas, Bumba-meu-boi is known as Boi Bumbá. Two groups, Caprichoso (in blue) and Garantido (in red), compete inside a bumbódromo built to hold 35,000 spectators.
Sao Joao (Jun/Jul), Caruaru & Campina Grande.
Forró is the redominant rhythm at the dance festival, which draws many leading performers.
International Puppet Theater Festival (Jun/Oct), Canela.
Puppeteers perform in theaters, schools, and streets over four days.
Rally dos Sertões (late Jun), across Brazil.
A 10-day event, when cars, truck pilots, and motorcycles drive 2,796 miles (4,500 km) through Brazil’s rough interior.
Festival de Inverno (Jul 1–30), Campos do Jordão (São Paulo).
Begun in 1990, this is the greatest festival of classical music in Latin America.
Festival Internacional da Dança (2nd fortnight), Joinville (Santa Catarina).
Dance performances, work shops, and competitions take place at one of the world’s largest dance festivals, featuring dance forms ranging from jazz and folk to classical ballet.
Ilhabela Sailing Week (date varies), Ilhabela.
Known as the sailing capital, the island is famed for competitive races and regattas, organized by the Yacht Club de Ilhabela.
Fortal (last week), Fortaleza.
The country’s biggest mica reta, held at Cidade Fortal, draws crowds with axé music and small schools of samba.
Festa da Nossa Senhora das Neves (Aug 5), João Pessoa.
Street celebrations last for 10 days to mark the day of the city’s patroness, Our Lady of the Snow. The rhythm of frevo defines the mood.
Festival de Gramado (2nd week), Gramado.
The most important film awards event in Brazil offers viewers the best in Brazilian and Latin
Festa Literária Internacional de Paraty (FLIP) (early Aug), Paraty.
An acclaimed literary gathering of Brazilian and international writers. Literary reunions, plays, lectures, and concerts feature on the versatile program list.
Festa do Peão de Boiadeiro, Barretos (Sao Paulo state), beginning on the 3rd Thu
The world’s largest 10-day rodeo event receiving almost one million visitors every year.
Concerts and food fairs. Pinga Festival (3rd weekend), Paraty.
Local cachaça samplings also known as pinga, musical shows, and food stalls offering regional delicacies.
International Festival of Culture and Gastronomy (date varies), Tiradentes.
A 10-day international gastronomic event with workshops and exhibitions in restaurants or at public squares all over the town.