Carnaval season begins after Reveillon, Brazil’s New Year’s celebration, and in Rio, kicks into
high gear late in January on “Dia de São Sebastião,” the day of Saint Sebastion, patron saint of Rio
de Janeiro. Every year, before Christmas, the top groups belonging to the Grupo Especial (Special
Group) record their sambas de enredo (theme songs) for the year at an outdoor theater in the
south of Rio.
One of the classics of brazilian carnival in Rio de Janeiro is the parade of the top samba
schools which take place on the Sunday and Monday nights of carnival along the purpose built
Passarela do Samba (Sambódromo), located on Avenida Marques de Sapucaí, close to the city
centre. The winners’ parade, featuring the top samba schools from all the divisions, will take place
on the following Saturday.
Carnival samba schools parade
Organised by the League of Samba Schools and the Rio Tourist Board (Riotur), tickets for the
parades can normally be reserved through most good tour operators.
Carnival follies haven't a precise time to take place. They usually happen just before Lent, the
40-day period preceding the Easter holiday.