Starting out as a festival before the somber mood of Lent, Carnival in Rio de Janeiro is considered one of the greatest shows on Earth. Rio de Janeiro is known as the cultural capital of Brazil and was the administrative capital from 1822 to 1960, when Federal Government moved to the new capital, Brasilia. The first festivals of Rio date back to 1723.

The famous carnival parade has been going on since the 1930s. The parade starts Sunday evening and continues into early morning Monday of the celebration. Until 1984, when it was moved to Av. Presidente Vargas, the parade took place at Praca Onze. In 1984 the parade finally found its permanent home, the Sambadrome [“sambódromo” in Portuguese]. The Sambadrome is a large structure that was built in the downtown area, which includes several buildings that make a circular open area in the middle. In the off season, the buildings of the Sambadrome are used as classrooms for the local public schools.

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WHEN: Late February, Four Days Before Ash Wednesday

WHERE: Brazil (throughout), although most notable is in Rio de Janeiro

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Rio Carnival Rio Carnival Rio Carnival

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This article is part of an ongoing series of posts highlighting significant festivals throughout the world, typically held during limited periods of time during the year. The series will identify and profile a select number of world festivals for nomination, ultimately selecting 15 worthy of the title “Top 15 Greatest World Festival”.

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