Before the Lenten celebrations, there are several days
of rehearsals

As with other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, carnival in Brazil is a traditional celebration in preparation for the Feast of Lent. But what about preparation for carnival?

Pré – carnaval happens in the weeks and months leading up to the main carnival. The samba-schools perform dress rehearsals and the blocos practice their parade routes. The parties are so intense that some cities are becoming more famous for their pré-carnaval festivities than carnival itself! The parade rehearsals, balls and regular gatherings of blocos are all grounds to organize a great pre-party, open to all. Come and celebrate the future advent of King Momo!

A crowd dressed in orange parades at pre-carnaval in Fortaleza.

Popular festivities comprised of “blocos” and “bandas”


Usually extending over 2 to 3 weeks (becoming more intense on weekends), the pre-carnival offers an additional opportunity for Brazilians to go out and party! During this period, neighborhoods and bandas begin to mobilize their members to the sound of samba and marcinhas (joyful walks).

Several thousand people (disguised or not) then join the streets to parade, dance and have fun until the official opening of the carnival. With a focus on fanfares, baterias (percussions) and trios elétricos (lorry mounted stages), these celebrations are distinguished by their warm and authentic character.

Vila isabel samba school at precarnaval in Rio

The great advantage of attending a preview of the festivities through precarnaval


This part of the festival, presents a great opportunity to catch the latest rehearsals of traditional carnival shows. In the sambodromes of Rio and São Paulo, it is possible to take in the technical and competitive aspects of the different samba schools.

You will be able to preview elaborate choreographies (enredo) while avoiding the vast crowd  present at official performances and benefiting from free admission!

Carnival “Balls” another type of party to discover!


Similar to during the carnival, the weeks of preparation are marked by several popular balls. These events are very often organized at neighborhood level, taking place in a club, a bar or even in the street. This is an opportunity one should grasp to discover musical and festive Brazilian culture by mixing with the locals to share their good mood!