While there are loads of festivals in Brazil, two of them stand above the rest thanks to their expansive, unique celebrations. One is the world-famous Rio Carnival, and the other is the intriguing Parintins Folklore Festival. Get the details on both below so you can start planning your trip!
Rio Carnival easily tops the list of festivals in Brazil. This wildly popular party in Rio de Janeiro lasts for full five days, bookended on either side by weeks of pre-Carnival and post-Carnival celebrations.
Rio Carnival celebrates the final hurrah before the fasting season of Lent begins. The party starts on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and stretches into the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
Make the most of Rio Carnival by dressing the part, whether you want to don a few flowered necklaces and a mask or a full-fledged costume. You’ll also want to keep a keen eye on your belongings as you sashay through the crowds.
Parintins Folklore Festival
The Parintins Folklore Festival, known as the Festival do Boi Bumba, ranks as the second-largest festival in Brazil. It has an entirely different theme and feel than Carnival, but is no less thrilling. The festival takes place in the small village of Parintins, located on Tupinambarana Island, which is surrounded by miles of lush rainforest.
The average Parintins population of 100,000 nearly doubles during the last three days in June during the festival. Hundreds of thousands of folks flock to the tiny town, packing an auditorium to watch two teams compete to determine who can best re-enact the legend of the resurrected ox.
Legend has it that a pregnant newlywed was craving ox tongue, and she asked her husband to kill his boss’s prized ox so she could sate her craving. Once the boss finds out his prized ox was slain, he vows revenge on the person who did it. The husband, in an attempt to rectify his mistake, asks a priest and a shaman to resurrect the ox in an elaborate ceremony.
The three days of competition are filled with song, dance, floats, ox costumes, and everything else required for the two teams to perform dramatic reenactments of the slain ox coming back to life.
Making the most of this festival starts by respecting the tradition and the performers. As much fun as this festival is, the locals take the competition seriously. You’ll notice attendees sporting body and face paint to indicate what team they support.
You’ll also want to secure a safe and efficient way to travel to Parintins, which is situated 250 miles east of the Amazonas state capital of Manaus. Flights are the quickest pick, as a boat ride along the Amazon River to Parintins can take between 20 and 30 hours.
Proper planning for both festivals in Brazil is a must to ensure you have all the details covered. Update your passport, secure your Brazilian visa, and start finalizing plans to check these two incredible festivals off your bucket list. Contact Swift with any questions; we’re always glad to help!
Rob Lee is co-founder of Swift Passport and Visa Services. Originally from Michigan, Rob is an avid fisherman and SCUBA diver who enjoys adventure travel.