Festivals and Events in Rio de Janeiro

Find out about the main festivals and events taking place in Rio de Janeiro throughout the year....

Rio de Janeiro is a city well known for its parties, festivals and other events that attract large numbers of tourists and other visitors each year. Almost every month in the Cidade Maravilhosa (Marvelous City) there are events for visitors to enjoy.

January

New Year's Eve (Reveillon): New Year's Eve in Rio de Janeiro is one of the world's most famous celebrations of the passing of the year. Two and a half million people visit Copacabana beach to witness the spectacular fireworks and welcome the New Year with a glass of champagne. Most people traditionally dress in white, and wear new clothes, symbolizing peace and light. Another tradition is to jump over seven waves (pular sete ondas) for good luck in the coming year.

Reis Magos: Each year on 6 January groups of colorfully dressed people (including some dressed as the three kings) and a large number of musicians and dancers perform in the streets. It is traditional for spectators to throw coins.

Salão Bike Show: An annual motorcycle exhibition which brings together 200 brands, 70 exhibitors and tens of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from all over Latin America and the rest of the world.

Race of Saint Sebastian (Corrida de São Sebastião): The Corrida de São Sebastião is one of the most traditional running events in Rio de Janeiro. The race is held in commemoration of the patron saint of the city and takes place at the Aterro do Flamengo. Participants have the choice between a 5 Km or 10 Km course. There is also a special children's version of the race (Corrida de São Sebastiãozinho), which is held a few days before the main event.

Pre Carnival (January and February): In the weeks before Carnival, there are numerous street parties, known as blocos, which act as rehearsals for the different Samba schools.

February

Carnival: This is Rio's most famous annual event. For almost a week the whole country is in the grip of Carnival, and stops its daily rhythm in preparation for a party that lasts four days and draws almost five million people, including some 400,000 foreign tourists, to Rio de Janeiro. The highlight of the carnival excitement is the parade of the city's samba schools at the sambódromo. There are roughly 100 of them and they work for an entire year to prepare floats and costumes, hoping to earn a place in the "special group" or be promoted to the "elite group".

March

Oi Vert Jam: A vertical skateboarding competition, forming one of the stages of the World Cup Skateboarding (WCS) series. The event takes place at Praça O in Barra da Tijuca, in the western zone of Rio de Janeiro.

King and Queen of the Beach (Rei da Praia and Rainha da Praia): A beach volley championship on Ipanema beach. The winners are awarded the title of King and Queen of the beach.

April

Rio Boat Show: An international trade fair where all the latest innovations in the nautical industry are exhibited to the public. The event takes place on Pier Maua, Avenida Rodrigues Alves 10, Centro.

Corrida da Ponte: A half marathon between Rio de Janeiro and Niterói.

May

Labor Day (1 May): A public holiday in Brazil, Labor Day honors those who through their work contribute to the wellbeing of the city and nation, with various official occasions and sporting events.

Victory Day (18 May): Victory day commemorates the victory of the allied forces in World War II. Military ceremonies are performed by all 19 allied nations at the monument of the dead of World War II - Parque do Flamengo.

June

June Bonfire Festival (Festa Junina): This is probably the biggest traditional folkloric event in Brazil. At the center of the festivities are the saints' days for Santo Antônio (13 June), São João (24 June) and São Pedro (29 June). Every organization, school, neighborhood and club organizes its own festa junina, with people dressed as north-eastern farmers, stalls selling traditional food, north-eastern accordion music, bonfires, dancing and a make-believe caipira wedding (a traditional wedding of people of the Brazilian countryside).

Rio de Janeiro Marathon (Maratona do Rio): The Rio Marathon is an annual running event from Recreio dos Bandeirantes to Flamengo. There is also a half-marathon of 21 Km starting at Pepe beach in Barra da Tijuca and a 6 Km family run, which takes place entirely in Flamengo.

July

Fireman's Day (Dia do Bombeiro): The Dia do Bombeiro celebrates the anniversary of the founding of Rio de Janeiro's Military Fire Brigade (2 July, 1856). It is also a tribute to the dedication and heroic acts of the members of the fire brigade.

August

Folklore Day (22 August): On August 22 1846, British archeologist William John Toms used the word "Folklore" for the first time. On the Dia do Folclore, Brazil commemorates its many myths, legends and beliefs.

Soldier's Day (25 August): On 25 August the Brazilian army celebrates Soldier's Day (Dia do Soldado)with ceremonies and awards.

September

Biennial Book Fair (Bienal do Livro): This is one of Brazil's biggest literary events. It lasts for 11 days, and allows visitors to engage with their favorite writers in literary sessions, debates and chat sessions. The event takes place at RioCentro, Avenida Salvador Allende 6555, Barra da Tijuca.

October

Festival do Rio: For two weeks each year, Rio de Janeiro becomes the film capital of the world. 400 films from over 60 countries are displayed in movie theaters, but also in open-air arenas, parks or on the beach.

December

King and Queen of the Sea (Rei e Rainha do Mar): Held in early December, the Beach Biathlon at Posto 6 in Copacabana hosts amateur and professional swimmers competing in an elite challenge marathon swim.

Trade Shows

Rio Sports Show: This show, which takes place in July, focuses on the sports, fitness and wellness markets and aims to stimulate business by bringing the leading manufacturers and importers of the industry to a select audience of gym owners, physical therapists, personal trainers and investors in sports infrastructure.

Hair Beauty: The international hair and beauty industry meets each year in October in Rio de Janeiro. New products and increasingly modern new treatments are the key features of the fair. The event takes place at RioCentro, Avenida Salvador Allende 6555, Barra da Tijuca.

Rio Construction (Construir Rio): One of the most important events for the construction industry, uniting over 300 local and international brands and generating business deals totalling about R$100 million. The event takes place in November in RioCentro, Avenida Salvador Allende 6555, Barra da Tijuca.

Rio Infrastructure and Machines (Rio Infra & Máquinas): The leading infrastructure fair in Brazil, this trade fair is all about solutions for both day-to-day work and large infrastructure projects. It is intended exclusively for professionals in the sector. The event takes place in November in RioCentro, Avenida Salvador Allende 6555, Barra da Tijuca.