Don't Stop The Party In Brazil

15 March 2016

Rio Carnival may nab all the headlines as the world’s best party, but as any visitor to Brazil can attest, this is one nation that knows how to throw down at any time of the year. If you missed Carnival season around the country, there’s plenty more colourful and fascinating festas to celebrate in other months too. Here is a selection of Brazilian festivals and events to keep you going well after the Rio Summer Olympics.

Boi Bumba

Get caught up in the whirlwind of colour, spectacle, dancing and parades in middle of the jungle. Yes, the venue for the three-day Boi Bumba festival is as remote as it comes – on an island in the Amazon Jungle. It’s a two-day boat ride from Manaus to get there, but the journey is well worth it. Over 60,000 of your new friends will join you at this epic fiesta, held every June, the origins of which are related by two competing teams in a stadium known as the Bumbódromo. Floats of fantastical native creatures such as macaws, snakes and jaguars; drum troupes; and legions of dancers illustrate the tale against a backdrop of fireworks and frenzied colour.


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Cirio de Nazare

Another debaucherous religious event? The pre-Lenten celebrations of the Rio Carnival are matched by Brazil’s second biggest festival – Cirio de Nazare – which is held in October. The two-week fiesta takes place in the northeastern city of Belém near the Amazon. Ostensibly, Cirio de Nazare honours the Virgin Mary (Brazil’s most revered religious icon), with the transfer of her image in a sombre five-hour barefoot parade from the Belém Cathedral to Basilica de Nazare. Once the Virgin Mary is safely inside her new home, the party starts. And the more revellers drink, the more they pay tribute to the Virgin. The festival is over when the iconic returns to the cathedral.

#iemanjá #iemanja #festadeiemanja #festadeiemanjá2016

A photo posted by Moacyr Villas Boas (@moacyrvillasboas) on

Festa de Iemanja

As you’d expect, Rio’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are major. It’s one of the final cities in the world to welcome the new year, and the Rio end-of-year festivities are a no-holds-barred party. The African Yoruba deity Iemanja is the goddess of the sea and considered to embody the spirit of the ocean in Brazil. On New Year’s Eve, millions of Rio residents(or Cariocas) dress in white and gather at Copacabana Beach to throw white flowers and other offerings into the sea in return for Iemanja’s blessings for the coming year.  Expect fireworks, wild parties and lots of exuberance.

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on travelling to Brazil.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.