Brazil Holidays, Events, Climate and Sightseeing

Brazil: holidays, events, customs

Public holidays

As the religious holidays and customs differ greatly from region to region, mainly national holidays and holidays relevant to travelers are listed here. The usual Christian holidays in Germany such as Christmas, Easter, Corpus Christi, All Saints’ Day etc. are also public holidays in Brazil.

Banks and shops are closed on public holidays.

Date Holiday
January 1 Festa de Iemanjá (only in Rio de Janeiro), Procissão do Senhor Bom Jesus dos Navegantes (only in Salvador, Bahia)
January 1st to 20 Folia de Reis (only in Parati, Rio de Janeiro)
February March Carnival (four days before Ash Wednesday) is a five-day festival. The carnival days are Brazil’s most famous holidays. Most shops and offices are open throughout the festivities
April 21 Tiradentes day. It lies in the Inconfidência week, which commemorates the failed uprising of 1789, the aim of which was independence.
March April Easter is celebrated from Good Friday to Easter Monday
1st of May Labor Day.
Late May or early June Festa do Divino Espírito Santo (only in Parati, Rio de Janeiro)
June Festas Juninas (June festivals), festivals mainly intended for children, are accompanied by fairs in some areas. They coincide with the commemorative days of St. John and St. Peter.Bumba meu Boi Festa – throughout most of June, but especially in São Luís, Belém and the states of Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro
7th of September Independence Day, the breakaway from Portugal (1822) is celebrated.
October 12 Holiday in honor of the patron saint “Nossa Senhora Aparecida”
15th of November Republic Proclamation Day, commemorates the day the Republic was proclaimed in Brazil in 1889.
December A feast is prepared on Christmas Eve, but it is not until December 25th that the children receive the presents from Papi Noel, Santa Claus.

Source: Countryaah – Brazil Holidays

Cultural events

Carnival (Carnaval)

The Carnival is without a doubt the world’s most famous cultural event in Brazil. Brazilians love and celebrate him across the country and across all social and geographic differences.

In Brazil, the largest carnival events take place in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Since 1935, the large samba schools with an average of 3,000 – 4,000 participants per school have competed in a specially designed arena (“Sambódromo”). They are cheered on by thousands of people and admired by millions of television viewers across Brazil and around the world.

In the months before the start of the Carnival, it is highly recommended to take part in the rehearsals of the samba schools in Rio and São Paulo, which either take place all night long inside the schools or in large processions on the street. However, the colorful costumes are kept secret until the actual event.

In other states there is the street carnival, which has its own name depending on the city (e.g. Recife = Recifolia). These carnival events take place all over Brazil. They are led by so-called Trios Eletricos (big floats with a tape and amplifier) to get people to dance on the streets. This type of carnival is particularly popular in the cities in the northeast of the country such as Salvador de Bahia, Olinda, Recife and Fortaleza.

Participating in the carnival, whether on the street or in the Sambodromo, is a unique, unforgettable experience. The dancing crowds of all ages and origins, the dazzling costumes and the incredible energy of the Batarías (drum groups) are overwhelming.

It is important to be aware of the dangers in large crowds and, for example, never to take valuables with you. Carnival is for everyone, poor or rich, so it’s far from safe on the streets. This is especially true for the rehearsals of the samba schools.

New Year’s Eve

At the turn of the year, thousands of followers of the Umbanda religion hold a special festival in honor of Iemanjá, the goddess of the sea, on Brazil’s beaches in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and especially in Bahia. Offerings are served on tablecloths surrounded by burning candles. At midnight the believers dressed in blue and white carry their gifts for the goddess into the sea. If what has been offered is washed out to sea, it is a good omen. If it comes back to the shore, this is a bad sign.

Brazilians traditionally spend New Year’s Eve on the beach. In Rio de Janeiro there is a huge fireworks display over the sea. At this time, Ipanema and Copacabana beaches are full of partying crowds. You wear the colors that represent your wishes for the coming year. Mostly dressed in white (peace) or red (love), but also in blue (health) and yellow (money), this results in a very colorful and wonderfully aesthetic picture.

Sporting events


Football is the national sport in Brazil and is played and watched with passion in all facets, in every social environment and in all parts of the country.

Each of the 26 states and the Distrito Federal do Brasil holds its own football championship (Torneio estaduai) in the first half of the year. Some tournaments like the “Campeonato Carioca” in Rio de Janeirohave been held since the beginning of the 20th century and attract hundreds of thousands of fans to the stadiums. The “Campeonato Carioca” stadium in Rio de Janeiro is the scene of one of the most important and world-famous duels between the Flamengo and Fluminense clubs. The world’s largest private sports stadium, Morumbi, is located in Sao Paulo. It has a capacity of 120,000 spectators and is the venue for the São Paulo FC soccer club.

The national team of Brazil is the most successful national soccer team in the world, for example with five FIFA World Cup wins (World Cup). The last victory was in 2002. On June 29, 2005, on the occasion of the Confederations Cup, Brazil defeated their opponent Argentina 4-1 in the final in Frankfurt/Main and became the winner of the competition. Brazil is the only nation that has qualified for every World Cup so far. Talented players like Pelé and Ronaldhino (see famous personalities) have made Brazil’s football highly regarded around the world through good style and excellent technology.

At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, however, they lost 2-1 to Belgium in the quarter-finals on July 7th.


Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian dance-fighting sport that was developed by African slaves in the late 15th century. The aim was to learn fighting techniques, covertly as a dance and music event. The Capoeira-Roda takes place within a circle of people who, clapping and singing, accompany two participants in their improvised “game”. Capoeira is characterized by technically complex but soft and flowing appearing rhythmic movements with a lot of ground contact and impressive acrobatics. Capoeira rodas often take place on the street, on the beach or in parks. Popular with young and old, Capoeira is an important part of Brazilian culture.


The seasons in Brazil are exactly the opposite of those in Europe

Spring: September 21st – December 20th

Summer: December 21st – March 20th

Autumn: March 21st – June 20th

Winter: June 21st – September 20th

Travel times

The idea of what is meant by a particularly favorable travel climate depends on a number of factors. The ideas of pure cultural travelers are certainly completely different from those of people who, for example, want to spend a pure beach holiday.

Therefore, our travel time recommendations have been divided into the following two categories.

For Sun Seekers

Summer (December – March) is the vacation season for Brazilians, which makes traveling at these times exhausting and expensive. It is extremely hot and stuffy, especially in Rio de Janeiro and in the south of the country. Many cultural institutions are closed for the summer break during this time. Traveling at this time is only recommended for people who are extremely heat tolerant.

However, summer is also the time with most festivals, especially of course the carnival. It is therefore ideal to start your vacation in late summer at the beginning of Carnival (February) and extend it into early autumn (March/ April).

For people who prefer a temperate climate

Apart from midsummer (see above) and winter (June-September), where there is heavy tropical rain in the south of the country, Brazil can be visited in a largely pleasantly warm climate.

We particularly recommend the low seasons in spring and autumn, which allow more relaxed travel at low prices.

National customs, eating and drinking habits


The Brazilian people are united in their love for the music of their country. Musical influences from the three continents America, Africa and Europe shape the great diversity of Brazil’s musical history. This music has developed individually from region to region.

Samba and Pagoda

The Samba is the most famous of all kinds of music of African descent. He lived in Rio de Janeiro at the beginning of the 20th century) at that time still the capital of Brazil) developed under the strong influence of immigrants of African descent from Bahia. In the following decades, many different styles of samba have developed: from the soft samba cancao (samba song) to the intoxicatingly loud drum orchestras (batarias) to the Brazilian carnival. Famous representatives of the musical style are Joao Gilberto (see famous personalities) and Antonio Carlos Jobim. At the beginning of the eighties the samba in its new form, the pagoda, experienced a “coming back” in the commercial charts. The pagoda introduced new instruments such as banjos and tantans to the samba, as well as more modern lyrics.

Bossa Nova

Bossa Nova is a style of music that developed in the late 1950s in the beach districts of Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro. Basically based on the rhythm of Samba, the translation of Bossa Nova is “The new way” or “The new beat”. Compared to Samba, it works less with strong rhythms but more with complex harmonies, the Bossa Nova has strong influences from jazz. Bossa Nova had a very strong influence on later musical styles such as Tropicália and MPB (Música Popular Brasileira). Perhaps the best known Bossa Nova song is Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “The Girl from Ipanema” (A Garota de Ipanema), world-famous in both English and Portuguese.

Eating and drinking

A country as big and diverse as Brazil naturally also has its regionally different culinary specialties. In addition, the immigrants have had a great influence on the Brazilian cuisine: In some areas in the south you can feel the German influence while the Italian and Japanese immigrants have shaped the cuisine in São Paulo. Some of the typical Brazilian dishes come from Portuguese and African cuisine.

Lunch is the largest meal of the day. For breakfast you drink coffee with milk (cafe com leite) or a strong espresso (Cafezhíno). Brazil is number one in the world in the production and export of coffee. Dinner is often taken very late. Although generally not a wide variety of herbs are used, Brazilian cuisine is flavorful and not spicy, with the exception of some highly spicy dishes in Bahia.


The Feijoada is a Brazilian national dish, typical especially of Rio, but of African origin. The feijoada consists of boiled beans, pork ears, feet and tails, as well as bacon, sausages and vegetables; in addition there are cassava flour (farofa), rice, cabbage and orange slices. A spicy sauce goes well with the whole thing. This dish is often served with friends on Saturday afternoons accompanied by a caipirinha.

Buchada de Carneiro

The culmination of culinary art in Pernambuco. Stuffed sheep’s stomach, tripe and innards in hot ragout or cooked in their own brew.


Very popular all over Brazil. It is a meat skewer pickled in vinegar, seasoned with salt, pepper, onions and marjoram, which is roasted over a charcoal grill.

Tapioca Pancakes

Tapiocas are served with grated coconut and processed cheese or bananas. A treat mainly served in the state of Alagoas. By the way, tapioca is made from the manioc root.

Coxinha de Frango

Translated, it is called chicken thighs. You can find it all over Brazil in various bars, pubs or sometimes with street vendors. Coxinhas are often used to satisfy a small hunger, but it is also very often served to guests as a small bite at festivals, parties and events.

Guaraná was

first discovered in the Amazon in 1664 and is tainted with many stories and myths. This exotic fruit called Guaraná has enjoyed worldwide success to this day. Often used by the natives to be on the road for more than a day without food without getting tired and often used for headaches, fever or cramps. Today this fruit can be obtained worldwide in beverage cans, in powder or in the form of tablets.

Fruit juices (sucos de fruta)

Brazil is particularly rich in fruits. In Brazil people like to mix different fruits into a fruit cocktail in the most unusual flavors, often mixed as “vitamins” with oat flakes and milk.

Beer (Cerveja)

Beer is also a particularly popular drink in Brazil, with two brands (Antártica + Brahma) almost alone sharing the market in Brazil.

Schnapps (Cachaca)

One of the most popular beverages in Brazil is made from sugar cane, a cachaça (schnapps). The story of sugar cane schnapps in Brazil began in the 16th century. At that time, this drink became the daily breakfast for many slaves who worked in sugar cane cultivation. For the slave this meant a kind of strengthening and helped him to endure the hard work in the sugar cane fields.

Pressed sugar cane (very sweet), which you can get on every marketplace in Brazil, is sold quite cheaply with a lot of crushed ice cubes, some sellers add a squeezed lime or pineapple to this pressed sugar cane juice (caldo de cana). This gives the sweet sugar cane juice a slightly different taste and is a lot more refreshing.


The caipirinha is a very popular beach and evening drink in Brazil, traditionally prepared with cachaca, ice, brown sugar and limes. For caipiroska, vodka is used instead of cachaça (sugar cane schnapps). Instead of lime, other fruits are often used, such as passion fruit, grapes, pineapple or strawberries.

Brazil: national parks

National parks in the north of the country

Name of the park In the state
Amazônia Amazon, Pará
Araguaia Tocantins
Cabo Orange Amapá
Yes Amazon
Monte Roraima * Roraima
Pacaás Novos * Rondônia
Pico da Neblina * Amazon
Serra da Moçidade * Roraima
Serra do Divisor * acre
Viruá * Roraima

The parks marked with a star are not accessible to visitors

National parks in the northeast of the country

Name of the park In the state
Chapada Diamantina Bahia
Lençóis Maranhenses Maranhão
Abrolhos Bahia
Fernando de Noronha Pernambuco
Monte Pascoal Bahia
Serra da Capivara Piauí
Serra das Confusões * Piauí
Sete Cidades Piauí
Ubajara Ceará

The parks marked with a star are not accessible to visitors

National parks in the midwest of the country

Name of the park In the state
Brasília Federal District
Chapada dos Guimarães Mato Grosso
Chapada do Veadeiros Goiás
Emas Goiás
Pantanal Matogrossense * Mato

The parks marked with a star are not accessible to visitors

National parks in the southeast of the country

Name of the park In the state
Amazônia Amazon, Pará
Araguaia Tocantins
Cabo Orange Amapá
Yes Amazon
Monte Roraima * Roraima
Pacaás Novos * Rondônia
Pico da Neblina * Amazon
Serra da Moçidade * Roraima
Serra do Divisor * acre
Viruá * Roraima

The parks marked with a star are not accessible to visitors

National parks in the south of the country

Name of the park In the state
Aparados da Serra Rio Grande d. Sul
I guaçú Paraná
Ilha Grande * Paraná
Lagoa do Peixe R.Grande d. Sul
Sao Joaquim * Santa Catarina
Serra Geral * Santa Catarina
Superagüi * Paraná

The parks marked with a star are not accessible to visitors.

Brazil: UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Old town of Ouro Preto (1980)

The small town of Ouro Preto is located in the state of Minas Gerais, near Belo Horizonte. Founded at the end of the 17th century, Ouro Preto (Black Gold) was the focus of the Brazilian gold rush in the 18th century. With its end in the 19th century, the influence of Ouro Pretos also decreased.

What remained was one of the most impressive and best-preserved arenas of Baroque architecture under the influence of the greatest artist of the colonial era, Aleijadhino (1738-1814). One of his many masterpieces is the Church of São Francisco de Assis. Other works of art from the Minas Baroque are the churches of Nossa Senhora do Pilar and Nossa Senhora da Conceição. Ouro Preto is considered the birthplace of the first great Brazilian art era and the modern state.

The old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1980

Old Town of Olinda (1982)

Olinda was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century. The history of the city was strongly linked to sugar cane cultivation. After the center of the city was destroyed by the Dutch, it is characterized by the simple architecture of the 18th century after its reconstruction. Olinda’s special charm lies in its harmonious blend of gardens, buildings, baroque churches, convents and numerous small passos (chapels).

The old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1982

Jesuit missions of the Guaraní: Ruins of São Miguel das Missões (1983, 1984)

The ruins of São Miguel das Missões were added to the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1983 and expanded as the Jesuit missions of the Guaraní in 1984. The cultural heritage crosses borders with Argentina and Paraguay.

Historic Center of Salvador de Bahia (1985)

Founded in 1549, Salvador da Bahia was Brazil’s most important city for 300 years due to the sugar trade. Salvador became famous for its beautiful churches (such as the Church of São Francisco in the central Pelourinho district) and its colorful houses built in the Renaissance style. Popular wisdom says that in Salvador there is a different church for each day of the year. In Salvador, wild festivals are celebrated throughout the year as part of street parades, which culminate in the annual carnival. The city’s historic center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985

Pilgrimage church “Good Jesus” of Congonhas (1985)

The pilgrimage church “Good Jesus of Congonhas” is located on a hill above the city. The church was completed in the second half of the 18th century and is built in the Rococo style. It has a cloister made up of 6 small chapels with carved cedar passion figures. The pilgrimage church was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1985

Iguaçu National Park (1986)

The park is located in the northwest of the Misiones province in Brazil and covers an area of 670 km².

The river is 500 km long from the sources of Serra do Mar to the waterfalls.

There are islands in the river above the falls, creating numerous branches of the river.

The waterfalls are almost 3 km wide. You are cross-border to Argentina. Behind the waterfalls, the Iguazu flows through narrow gorges until it flows into the Paranà.

The national park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1986.

Brasília (1987)

Brasilia, the current capital of Brazil, was rebuilt in the center of the country in 1956-1960. Urban planner Lucio Costa and architect Oscar Niemeyer planned that every element – from the layout of the residential and administrative buildings to the symmetry of the buildings themselves – should be coordinated in harmony with the overall design of the city. The city’s official buildings in particular are innovative and imaginative. Brasilia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987

Serra da Capivara National Park (with rock carvings) (1991)

The Serra da Capivara National Park was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1991

Historic city center of São Luís do Maranhão (1997)

The historic city center of São Luís do Maranhão was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1997

Historic Center of Diamantina (1999)

The colonial village of Diamantina is located in a mountain range that is difficult to reach. It is a relic of the diamond rush in the 18th century. Diamantina is a unique example of how diamond seekers, royal envoys, explorers and adventurers managed to achieve an architectural mixed culture between their European roots, American influences and the laws of the indomitable natural landscape that surrounds them.

The historical center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999

Rainforest area of the “Coast of Discovery” (Costa do Descobrimento) (1999)

The Costa do Descobrimento is located in the coastal region of Prado on the Atlantic as far as Belmonte. The most impressive rainforest areas in the northeastern region of Brazil can be found in this area.

The protected area includes the Una ecological reserve and the Monte Pascoal National Park. the Parque do Descobrimento, the Pau Brasil reserve and Santo Ângelo. In the meantime, Coroa Vermelha, Trancoso/Caraíva, the Recife de Fora marine park and the Barra Vermelha Indian reservation have also become part of it. Trancoso was founded by the Jesuits in the 16th century.

The city of Prado is located between two national parks, Mount Pascoal and the Marine Park of Abrolhos. From one park to the other it is around 80 km along the coast. There are many varied beaches and cliffs.

The rain forest area of the “Coast of Discovery” was added to the list of UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 1999

Southeast Atlantic Forests (1999)

The Southeast Atlantic Forests were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999

Central Amazon Protected Area (2000)

The Amazon basin extends over 6 million km² of river and jungle area and extends over 8 countries. Just over half of the Amazon is on Brazilian soil.

The Central Amazon Conservation Area is located in the Amazon basin area.

The Central Amazon nature reserve stretches on both banks of the Jau River from the source to the mouth.

The Jau is a black water river, which means that the color of the water is very dark. The dark color is caused by the fact that the river flows through humus-rich bogs or rainforest soils, which release acids such as humic acids and fulvic acids into the river (group of organic substances of different composition that are formed when biological material is broken down).

The water is acidic due to the acids. Many endangered animals, mammals, and birds live in the park. The Central Amazon protected area was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 and the Jaú National Park was added in 2003

Pantanal wetland, protected area (2000)

The South American Pantanal is one of the largest inland wetlands on earth. The area is 230,000 km² and the area extends from Brazil to the neighboring countries of Bolivia and Paraguay. The area is crossed over 600 km by the Rio Paraguay, which floods dry areas in the rainy season. It formed savannasand the animals are drawn to the water. But once a year the river is transformed by the heavy rainfall. Rivers, lakes and lagoons lie next to savannahs, rainforest-like river gallery forests and dry forests. The diversity of animal and plant species is particularly great here. The Pantanal wetland was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000

Historic Center of Goiânia (2001)

The city of Goiás is located in the state of Goiás about 300 km from Brasilia. This city from the Portuguese colonial times has been completely preserved and documents colonial architecture, mixed with local architecture.

The historic center of Goiânia was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001

National parks Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas (2001)

The national parks Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas are mountain landscapes in the mid-west of the country in the province of Goiás. There are animal species such as wild deer, monkeys and king vultures and ostriches that would have no chance of survival without a protected area. The national parks Chapada dos Veadeiros and Emas were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001.

Fernando de Noronha Island Reserve/Rocas Atoll (2001)

The Fernando de Noronha archipelago, also known as Roca Atoll, is located in the Atlantic about 350 km east of the Brazilian mainland, the area of the protected area is 112.7 km², this area specification includes the protected sea area. The marine nature reserve is rich in various species of turtles, dolphins, sharks and numerous species of fish, and numerous sea birds nest and live there. The atoll itself consists for the most part of red algae and corals.

The island reserve Fernando de Noronha/Rocas Atoll was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2001

São Cristóvão, Plaza de Sao Francisco (2010)

São Cristóvão is a small town in the Sergipe state that was founded in 1590. The historic Plaza de Sao Francisco in the middle of the center with its buildings lining the edge was built on in the colonial style at the end of the 16th century. There are civil buildings there, but also an adjoining monastery of the Franciscan Order with the two churches.

The Plaza de Sao Francisco in São Cristóvão was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2010.

Rio de Janeiro (2012)

Rio de Janeiro, the second largest city in Brazil, was fully included in the UNESCO World Heritage list on the grounds that “the lush landscape fits in uniquely into the cityscape.” This includes the Copacabana district, built on a rock between the Atlantic coast and the Favela settlements, the Christ the Redeemer statue on the Corcovado mountain and the botanical garden, which was inaugurated in 1808.

The Christ the Redeemer statue can be reached from Cosme Velho by train. The view over Rio and the sea, having climbed a few more stairs to the statue is spectacular.

Around 6000 different plants can be admired in the botanical garden. Some of the palm trees that grow there are over 200 years old. The garden is located in the south of the city in the Jardim Botânico district. In the garden there are greenhouses, lakes, orchid parks and much more.

Rio de Janeiro was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2012

Ensemble of Modernism in Pampulha (2016)

The ensemble in Pampulha was created as a vision of a garden city in 1940. It was planned around an artificial lake and has a casino, a ballroom, the Golf Yacht Club and the São Francisco de Assis church.

One of the excellent buildings in this ensemble is the Church of St. Francis (Igreja de São Francisco de Assis), which was built in 1943 by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012).

The church houses the panels by the painter Candido Portinari and is clad on the outside with tiles painted by him. According to UNESCO, the complex is evidence of modern architecture and a modern landscape design.

The landscape was designed by the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994).

However, due to disputes between the artists and clergy, the church was not consecrated until 1959.

Pampulha is a district of the Brazilian metropolis Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais. The city has around 2.5 million residents and is located in the southeast of Brazil. The Ensemble of Modernism in Pampulha was entered into the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites on July 12, 2016

Valongo-Kai Archaeological Site (2017)

In the middle of Rio de Janeiro is this excavation site of the Valongo quay, where slave ships from Africa arrived from 1811 – for around 900,000 slaves from Africa this was their place of arrival in South America.

This archaeological site includes the entire Jornal do Comércio square and the old port area of Rio.

The World Heritage Site consists of several layers, one on top of the other, with the deepest layer forming a pé-de-moleque-style paved floor, which is considered the original Valongo quay. This is the most important evidence of the arrival of African slaves on the American continent.

Paraty and Ilha Grande – Culture and Biodiversity (2019)

The French overseas territory of the Southern and Antarctic Territories covers an area of almost 673,000 km², which mainly consists of water.

The large area, however, includes the largest islands in the southern Indian Ocean, the Crozet Islands (352 km²), the Kerguelen (7,215 km²) and Saint-Paul and Amsterdam (together 64.5 km²). They are home to the largest concentration of marine birds in the world, as well as a wide variety of marine mammals. For example, there are the world’s largest colonies of king penguins and yellow-nosed albatrosses. Due to their remoteness, the islands form habitats that give scientists valuable insights into local evolution.

Paraty and Ilha Grande were included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2019.

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