Brazil has a very large catholic population many of the holidays are religious.

There are several holidays in Rio de Janeiro. As Brazil has a very large catholic population many of the holidays are religious. There are also several government holidays as well as holidays particular to Rio de Janeiro.

National Holidays Dates

01-Jan – New Year’s day
21-Feb-12 – Carnival – Fat Tuesday (date changes every year)
04-Apr-12 – Easter (date changes every year)
21-Apr- Tiradentes’ day (considered a national martyr for being part of the Inconfidencia Mineira an insurgent movement that aimed to establish an independent Brazilian republic)
01-May – Labor Day
07-Jun-12 – Corpus Christi (date changes every year)
07-Sep- Independence Day
12-Oct- Nossa Sra. Aparecida – Patron Saint of Brazil and Children’s day
02-Nov- Day of the Dead
15-Nov- Republic Day
25-Dez – Christmas

The Carnival

Perhaps the biggest celebration in Rio de Janeiro is the Carnival. This 4-day celebration takes place on a Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. The city comes alive with street parties, concerts and a formal parade competition between the numerous Samba schools in the area. Carnival is undoubtedly the most expected holiday by natives. They often say that the year only begins after Carnival. Even with only four days of official Carnival, the festival lasts more than 10 days, with more than 100 street parties, some have attendance of more than one million people singing and dancing in the streets of the city. Some of the most famous are “Simpatia é quase Amor”, “Banda de Ipanema”, “Monobloco”, “Bola Preta” and “Suvaco do Cristo”. No doubt it is one of the most enchanting festivals on the planet and almost none serious incidents are recorded, even with such large proportion party.

Rio Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Tiradentes Day

Tiradentes Day, on April 21st is a national holiday. It celebrates the execution of a local, Joaquim Jose da Silva Xavier who stood up to Portuguese rule in Brazil by organizing a movement against the government. Because of his anti-government activities he was executed in 1792. He is now considered a hero and the country celebrates during the week leading up to his death.

Independence Day

This holiday occurs September 7 and marks the freedom of Brazil from Portuguese rule. Celebrations occur throughout the country. In Rio de Janeiro, the holiday is celebrated with street parties and carnivals.

New Years Eve

Perhaps the biggest celebration right after the Carnival, New Years Eve is traditionally celebrated on Copacabana Beach. Up to 1 million people head to the beach on New Year’s Eve day to enjoy live concerts and other revelry taking place up and down the coastline. Wearing all white, as a means to ensure good luck through the year, celebrants gather on Copacabana Beach to ring in the New Year and enjoy an amazing fireworks display. Some families gather around and celebrate the New Year having dinner together, some celebrate in the many parties that happen all throughout the city, many of these happen at hotels, theses parties are well known for their luxurious and although the prices might be a bit expensive it is very worth it. You can enjoy the party, go over to the beach to watch the fireworks and go back to party till the sun comes up. Barra da Tijuca beach has become a very popular spot for the younger crowd.


By the beach - Reveillon in Copcabana - Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Additional Holidays

The religious week celebrating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter is recognized by going to church and getting together with the family. Victory Day celebrates the victory of Brazil and its allies in WWII. The Bonfire Festival in June celebrates the feasts of Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter with bonfires throughout the city and exciting fireworks displays. Children’s Day in October has entertainment and games set up throughout the city for the children. Christmas Day, while void of snow, is still celebrated with evergreen trees, nativity scenes and Santa in boardshorts and surf board.

The Cariocas in Rio de Janeiro do love to party. The numerous holidays throughout the year are cause for celebrations and parties.