- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Rio de Janeiro Guide (PDF)
With a vibrant and colourful population who loves to party, and a city credited as the ‘carnival capital of the world’, there are plenty of exciting annual events in Rio de Janeiro for expats to enjoy.
Annual events in Rio de Janeiro
By far the most well-known and largest event in the city, and indeed in the country, is the Rio Carnival which attracts 2 million attendees per day. The event takes place over the four days before Lent and sees thousands of dancers and performers on floats paraded through the streets of Rio. Parties are held throughout the four days with live music, dancing and partying on the streets.
Holy Week (March/April)
The majority of Brazil’s population is Catholic. Holy Week, which is the run-up to and celebration of Easter, is the most significant time in the Catholic calendar. The week sees religious processions and masses held across the city.
June Bonfire Festival (June)
The June Bonfire Festival (known locally as Festa Junina) is a traditional festival to honour St John. Celebrations are held in churches and city squares with the lighting of bonfires and people dancing, singing and playing games.
Rio de Janeiro Marathon (June)
This annual marathon through the streets of Rio attracts thousands of participants and their supporters. It is usually accompanied by a festive atmosphere with food and drinks stalls along the route. There are also parties taking place after the race.
Independence Day (September)
Brazilians celebrate their country’s independence from Portugal with much fanfare on 7 September. The day is a public holiday and parades are held on Rio’s streets, culminating in fireworks displays in the evening. It’s a time for the locals to celebrate their country and demonstrate their patriotism by hoisting Brazilian flags throughout the city.
Gay Pride Parade (September/October)
Rio de Janeiro’s Gay Pride Parade takes place on the Copacabana beach. Visitors will experience an atmosphere similar to Carnival. On this day the city is filled with music and samba. The parade is meant to be a celebration of queer lives. It also focuses on rejecting homophobia. Parade-goers dance and celebrate until the early hours of the next day each year. There are also mini parades that take place simultaneously in other neighbourhoods of Rio.
Rio International Film Festival (September/October)
The city hosts an annual film festival where hundreds of feature and short films, and documentaries are screened at venues throughout the city. The festival is also accompanied by numerous parties and music events.
New Year's Eve Celebrations (December/January)
The famous Copacabana beach plays host to New Year's Eve celebrations each year. The city comes alive with concerts, parties and lights, not to mention a huge fireworks display on the beach.
►For information on transport options in the city, see Getting Around in Rio de Janeiro
Are you an expat living in Rio de Janeiro?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Rio de Janeiro. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
With 86 million customer relationships in over 200 countries, Cigna Global has unrivalled experience in dealing with varied and unique medical situations and delivering high standards of service wherever you live in the world.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.