22 Things You Need To Know About Rio De Janeiro’s Carnival

Ready to enjoy the world’s biggest party? This year it takes place from Feb. 28 until March 4.

1. White clothing ruled the 1930s to help with high temperatures and lower costs.

Gamma-Keystone / Via Getty Images

2. During the 1950s, costumes began getting smaller, men went without shirts…

Gamma-Keystone / Via Getty Images

…and women opted for bikinis:

Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

3. In the ’80s the Sambodromo was built, helping to organize Carnival a bit more:

Gabriel de Paiva/Globo / Via Getty Images

It was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer and has capacity for 90,000 spectators.

4. But that didn’t stop the street “blocos” from taking place.

pdil/National Geographic / Getty Images

“Blocos” are organized groups of people that go out and parade, dance and party.

5. Even to this day:

Brazil / Reuters

Revellers kiss during celebrations with Sergeant Pepper’s Carnival block.

6. When it comes to floats, the bigger they are, the better.

Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

AP Photo/Hassan Ammar


7. Sexy does NOT mean naked:

Sergio Moraes / Reuters

Nudity is penalized in the Sambodromo, so although costumes have been getting smaller, you won’t be seeing full nudity from the samba-goers.

8. But you’ll get to see a lot of butts!

9. There’s a lot of coordination before the party actually starts:

Pilar Olivares / Reuters

Costumes have to be ready, everyone needs to know their escola’s song, people need to know where to go, and so on.

Brazil / Reuters

10. The industry behind carnival is HUGE for the country:

Mario Rossi / Getty Images

In 2010, Rio received 800,000 visitors during Carnival, which represents a 950-million-real industry for the city.

Andre Felipe / Getty Images

The country stops during the week of Carnival except for tourism services (hotels, cabs, bars) and samba schools, which work pretty much until the last minute so they can have the best costumes.

11. Every escola has a flag, and the couple that presents it always have the most elaborate and elegant costumes:

12. It’s an honor to dance in front of the bateria:



13. And you can find both celebrities and incredible bodies leading the band:

AP Photo/Felipe Dana

14. The bahianas are a group of elderly ladies whose role is to turn in circles throughout the parade.

Ricardo Moraes / Reuters

Some have to be helped as they get dizzy or fall over.

15. Everyone partakes in the parades, regardless of age or gender.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

16. The Globeleza is a phenomenon:


Valéria Valenssa was the Globeleza — the Carnival muse for Brazilian TV channel Globo — for 14 years.

17. Who said men can’t show skin?


It is common for men to cross-dress, go all out on the glitter, and wear fake boobs just for fun.

18. Everyone is a star… Yes, including the guys that clean the Sambodromo.

Andre Felipe / Getty Images

Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.

19. And the basic premise is that everyone has to have fun:


Even supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

20. During Carnival, Rio hosts one of the biggest and best-known gay balls:

Mario Rossi / Getty Images

21. And there’s even a place for dogs to show off their little costumes:

Pilar Olivares / Reuters


22. Even if you try to avoid Carnival, you probably won’t be able to:

Pilar Olivares / Reuters

Unless, of course, you take a vacation outside the country.

Are you ready to enjoy the 2014 Carnival? Listen to all the songs here:

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