The Carnival of Brazil (Portuguese: Carnaval, IPA: [kaʁnaˈvaw]) is an annual festival held during the Friday to the Tuesday beforeAsh Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, the forty-day period before Easter. On certain days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry, hence the term “carnival,” fromcarnelevare, “to remove (literally, “raise”) meat.” Carnival has roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Catholicism became a farewell to well things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ’s death and resurrection.
Rhythm, participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Vitória, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. Those official parades are meant to be watched by the public, while minor parades (“blocos”) allowing public participation can be found in other cities.
Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions. Except for industrial production, retail establishments such as malls, and carnival-related businesses, the country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities.[