Cultural Traditions and Festivals Unique to Brazil

Brazil is a country that  is well known and loved for its rich cultural traditions and fun festivals. Traditions and festivals center around sports, religion, and even a martial art practice unique to only Brazil.


The festival of Carnival celebrates a season of decadence before the Catholic time of Lent begins. Carnival is Brazil’s biggest and most well known festival. In the preceding weeks to the beginning of the colorful festival, local bands play throughout community neighborhoods, fancy balls are held, and smaller forms of street parades march through cities. The most famous cities that host these celebrations are Rio and Salvador. During Carnival, Samba schools that have been rehearsing and preparing for months parade through the streets in colorful costume and on decorative floats while dancing to traditional Brazilian Samba.

Bumba-meu-boi and Other Religious Festivals

Religious festivals quite commonly take place throughout Brazil all year long. One of the most famous is the Bumba-meu-boi festival that takes place in Sao Luis. In the festival, the townsfolk act out a folk story that surrounds the killing and resurrection of a bull. In Nova Jerusalem, the citizens act out the largest passion play in Latin America in the time leading up to Easter. And, in Saolvador the annual washing of the steps of the Bonfim Church is an event that draws over 800,000 people.

New Years

In Rio each year around the time of New Years, Reveillon begins. Restaurants serve buffet lunches early in the day before thousands of people begin gathering on the beaches of Rio for elaborate firework displays. During this time, members of the Afro-Brazilian religion Candomble, will wear all white and set small boats with candles and trinkets to sail in the ocean as an offering to the sea goddess Yemenja.


Capoeira is a martial art unique to Brazil that stems from self defense practices of African slaves. The slaves had to practice secretly, thus disguised it as a dance. Today, the art resembles both dance and fighting equally.