The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is a yearly festival held during the four days preceding Lent. The festival takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It begins on a Friday and ends on Fat Tuesday, and it is considered the largest carnival in the world.
Originating in 1723, the Rio de Janeiro Carnival was initially a food festival that combined pagan and Christian religious traditions. Carnival began as a five-day celebration of indulgence that gave people a respite before the observance of Lent and the 40-day period of fasting and abstinence. Though still rooted in religious tradition, the Rio Carnival started to focus on Brazilian culture during the 1800s. Masquerade balls were included in the mid-1800s, while music, parades and dancing were incorporated by the beginning of the 19th century.
The Rio de Janeiro Carnival is known for its elaborate and extreme parties that celebrate Brazilian culture, food and music. The festival disregards normal social conventions and embraces wild, indulgent behavior. Many people who attend Carnival dress up in ornate costumes that often consist of glitter and bright colors. Music and dancing is also a large part of the festival. Popular forms of music and dancing include Afro-Brazilian and samba.