Colours have always been my weakness. This applies to both things and places. When I moved to India, I was dreaming that I would get to wear really colourful Saris and dance in the streets with all sorts of colours and festivities around me like we see in Bollywood. For me, Brazil is exactly the same idea, only on the other side of the world.
The Brazilian Carnival, which is coming up in a month (from 24th till 28th of February), should be on everyone’s bucket list. It’s on mine for sure. The actual annual dates of Carnival differ according to Easter dates as it is held exactly 40 days before Easter.
Carnival (or in Portuguese: Carnaval) is the best well known celebration in Brazilian pop culture. The event has a Catholic origin it started originally as a food festival to celebrate before the 40 days of Lent (fasting before Easter). Gradually this turned into a tradition that was held every year and started to include different elements from the Brazilian culture such as music, costumes, and Samba.
The most famous Carnaval in Brazil is the Rio Carnival which is, of course, held in Rio de Janeiro. However, Carnival is held in almost all Brazilian cities and if you are there in the right time, you will be able to celebrate it wherever you are.
Having said that, if you actually plan to go there, it will be a good idea to do some exploration while you’re at it. Another thing that is known about Brazil is how huge it is. So you will have such a hard time planning a trip since you literally can go to a hundred different places and all of them are equally fascinating.
Rio, as previously mentioned, is the party hub. It hosted the 2014 FIFA World Cup and it is usually where everything touristic happens. Some places will get a bit mainstream, however, you will find a great deal of Brazilian culture (if one can bring it all in one) there. You can definitely recognize the Christ the Redeemer statue located there (which is a nice visit if you’re not afraid of heights). It also has some pretty good beaches (the Copacabana being one of them), and you will be able to enjoy it almost any time as the weather is pretty summery all year long (it rains, but who cares, it’s warm).
Sao Paulo is another familiar city. It’s not as fun as Rio but we can live with that. It’s the financial capital of the country, so naturally, it’s very rich. At first, the city can seem a bit intimidating, but it’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the world, and hence, it has a big cultural impact on the Brazilian culture. Sao Paulo also has the best nightlife in Brazil and an a lot number of theatres, museums, and those sort of things.
Salvador is also beautifully located on a small peninsula that separates the Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. After Rio de Janeiro, the city of Salvador is Brazil’s main tourist destination. Salvador da Bahia has a captivating diversity of cultures and people. Owing to the massive slave trade history, Bahia has the highest percentage of Brazilians of African descent. You will be able to enjoy the culture represented in many things around; exciting rhythmic music, the delicious Bahian cuisine, the ‘martial dance’ capoeira, the spiritual religion Candomblé and even Carnival.
If you don’t like mainstream destinations, you will find countless places other than the big cities to enjoy. The rural towns, the forest, the oceanic cities. Every part has its own culture and vibe, and they are all very different from each other. So just set you priorities and start planning.