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Carnaval is one of those mysterious words that brings to mind tradition, colorful costumes, masquerades, festive music, dancing, and streets filled with celebration. The yearly festival is only seven days away (though for many of us, Carnaval is a lifetime away). We thought we’d help bring Carnaval to you with information on the goings on, as well as a little surprise of our own!

The Carnaval in Rio is the most famous and [generally considered] largest carnival in the world. The festival dates back to 1723 and attracts well over a million revelers every year. It happens before Lent, ending on Ash Wednesday.

The Music

Most of the music played during Carnaval is Samba, one of the biggest cultural symbols of Brazil. It’s a type of music (and dance) that is deeply rooted in Brazil and Africa (via the slaves that were transported to Brazil in the 17th and 18th centuries) and emerging from urban Rio de Janeiro at the end of the 19th century. Modern Samba is primarily played with strings and a percussive instrument, in a 2/4 tempo. It “is born of a rhythmic necessity that it allows you to sing, to dance, and to parade at the same time.”

The Parades

Parades are typically made up of dancers, floats, and revelers from about 200 Samba Schools throughout Rio. These schools are made up of neighbors and friends that want to attend Carnaval together (with some kind of geographically common background).

The Costumes

For visitors wishing to formally take part in the festivities and parades, attendees can sign up through select Samba Schools. These schools prepare for Carnaval parades and competitions all year round. Tourists can have their own experiences in the “Commercial Areas” of these schools but need to purchase their own costumes which can range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Of course visitors can just be viewers and bring their own costumes. Both dress up and dress down are perfectly acceptable (though no nudity!).

The Parties

Festivities continue deep into the night with street parties and balls. These parties can range in price from free to many hundreds of dollars. There are parties and balls for everyone, those for singles, LGBT, the rich and famous, and more. Costumes are highly encouraged both to get into the spirit and to help you Samba a little better.


We know that not everyone is going to be able to travel to Rio de Janeiro in person to witness Carnaval. So, in the meantime, Big Fish wants to help you experience Carnaval with Gummy Drop! For a limited time and only in the App Store, Rio de Janeiro with be FREE for Carnaval matching fun! Players will be able to access a Carnaval-themed icon and parades in the streets of Rio, along with landmarks to unveil and quests to complete. Collect feathers for the Queen’s carnival headdress and help trim the Botanical Garden trees. a Carnaval-themed icon, and Masks, beads, and Carnaval wares galore!

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