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Rio de Janeiro Festivals

Experience the festive spirit in Rio de Janeiro with various celebrations, including Christmas, Carnival, and many more throughout the year.

Rio hosts a diverse array of local festivals, making it advisable to plan your visit to coincide with these events for an enriched experience in the city.

Undoubtedly, the year's highlight is the globally renowned Rio Carnival, attracting millions of tourists eager to participate in the lively parades and joyous dancing festivities!


Christmas in Rio de Janeiro is a festive celebration marked by a unique blend of traditions and vibrant spirit. While the Southern Hemisphere experiences summer during December, Rio embraces the holiday season with colourful decorations, illuminated palm trees, and festive lights throughout the city. People participate in celebrations, firework displays, and musical events, creating a lively and joyous atmosphere.


Umbanda: Festival of the Goddess of the Sea

Umbanda is a Brazilian syncretic religion that combines elements of African, Indigenous, and Catholic beliefs. The Festival of the Goddess of the Sea, often associated with Yemanjá, a deity linked to the ocean, is a significant event in Umbanda.

In Rio de Janeiro, on 31st December every year, devotees gather for vibrant celebrations, offering flowers, candles, and gifts to Yemanjá. The festival, typically held near the sea, involves rituals, music, and dance, reflecting Umbanda's rich cultural and spiritual diversity in the city.

Flickr/Michel Temer/CC BY 2.0

Brazil's Independence Day

Brazil's Independence Day celebrated on September 7th, is a significant national event in Rio de Janeiro. The city hosts patriotic festivities, including parades, concerts, and cultural events. Various embellishments such as balloons, streamers and banners decorate every nook and corner of the city.

The iconic Independence Day Parade along Avenida Presidente Vargas showcases military displays, traditional costumes, and a strong national pride. Both locals and tourists participate in the celebrations, creating a lively and patriotic atmosphere throughout Rio de Janeiro - the fireworks In the evening at the city square are worth watching.

Flickr/cat's_101/CC BY 2.0

June Bonfire Festivals (Festas Juninas)

June Bonfire Festivals, known as Festas Juninas, are lively celebrations in Rio de Janeiro that take place in June. These festivals are rooted in Brazilian traditions, featuring colourful decorations, folk music, traditional dances, and delicious regional food. Participants often wear country-style attire, and the festivities include activities like square dancing and the lighting of bonfires. The festivals celebrate rural life to honour saints St. John, St. Anthony, and St. Peter (all born in June)and provide a lively and joyful atmosphere for locals and visitors to enjoy in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio Carnival
Flickr/Nicolas de Camaret/CC BY 2.0

Rio Carnival

Rio Carnival is one of the world's most renowned and vibrant celebrations. Though carnival is celebrated all over Brazil, Rio de Janeiro is known as the Carnival capital of the world. It is held annually, typically in February or March, featuring extravagant parades, samba music, and colourful costumes.

The city comes alive with samba schools competing in the Sambadrome, while street parties, or "blocos," fill the streets with music and dance. Millions of locals and tourists participate in the festivities, creating a dynamic and electrifying atmosphere that defines Rio de Janeiro's Carnival as a global cultural phenomenon.

New Year’s Celebrations

New Year’s Celebrations

New Year's celebrations in Rio de Janeiro are legendary and draw crowds from around the world. The iconic Copacabana Beach transforms into a massive party venue. Revellers, dressed in white for good luck, gather for a night filled with music, dancing, and joy. The highlight is the spectacular fireworks display that lights up the sky over the beach, marking the beginning of the new year. The festivities extend into the early morning hours, creating an electric atmosphere as people come together to celebrate and welcome the new year in true Rio style.

Ringing in the New Year with a midnight Champagne toast is considered lucky, so get involved!

Day of St. Sebastian Celebrations
chensiyuan/CC BY-SA 4.0

Day of St. Sebastian Celebrations

The Day of St. Sebastian, celebrated on January 20th, is a significant event in Rio de Janeiro. As the city's patron saint, St. Sebastian is honoured with various festivities, including religious ceremonies, processions, and cultural events. The day holds special importance for Cariocas, and it provides an opportunity for both religious observance and community celebrations, reflecting the rich cultural and spiritual traditions of Rio de Janeiro.

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