With millions of participants, Brazil is set to display largest carnival in the world

Brazil's carnival this year begins March 1 and continues until March 6 at noon. This secular festivity takes place 40 days before Lent, the Christian season of prayer and fasting prior to Easter.

Undoubtedly, the greatest outdoor show on Earth!

Brazil's carnival, considered by many as the greatest outdoor show on Earth, could also be described as the country's top extravaganza with its millions of participants, one of its main cultural exponents and even a major economic powerhouse which last year gathered Brazil more than $1.06 billion in revenue.

The South American country's carnival is undoubtedly one of the World's best known festive events whose religious Western Christian roots, Afro-Brazilian legacy and never stopping, contagious, samba rhythm have firmly established Brazil as the ultimate tropical party nation.

(All text, images from EFE)

(Photograph:Agencia EFE)

Carnaval derived from Latin 'carne vale' meaning 'flesh farewell'

The word Carnaval is derived from the Latin "carne vale" meaning "flesh farewell," originally a medieval food festival where Catholic and Orthodox Christians feasted prior to the 40 days of Lent penance and fasting, starting on Ash Wednesday. 

When the Portuguese colonized Brazil in the early 1600s they brought their customs with them.

Carnival back then meant formal, grandiose balls held at the residences of the Portuguese ruling class. 

(Photograph:Agencia EFE)

Guinness World Records described as 'largest carnival in world'

Rio de Janeiro carnival has been aptly described by the Guinness World Records as 'the largest carnival in the world,' as some six million partygoers, only in Rio, assemble each carnival day to watch and be watched, enjoy and be enjoyed as they party on for a week.

As in most Brazilian cities, the main powerhouses of Rio's Carnival are its Samba schools: large, social entities with thousands of members who spend the year devising their next carnival theme, song and parade which Rio's top 13 samba schools, 3,000-strong each, will later battle out against rival samba schools at Rio's official Sambadrome seeking its coveted annual Championship award.

(Photograph:Agencia EFE)

'Galo da Madrugada', considered as main event

Brazil's carnival this year begins March 1 and continues until March 6 at noon (Ash Wednesday.) 

This secular festivity takes place 40 days before Lent, the Christian season of prayer and fasting prior to Easter.

Its main event, the "Galo da Madrugada," (Dawn's rooster) is considered the largest neighbourhood street parade in the world and is responsible for opening the carnival. 

(Photograph:Agencia EFE)

'The year doesn’t start in Brazil until after Carnival'

An old Brazilian saying states: 'the year doesn’t start in Brazil until after Carnival,' which gives an idea of the importance this annual, week-long frenetic explosion of music, dance, costumes, massive floats, drum and brass orchestras and organized mayhem has on Brazil's collective consciousness.

The result is the Rio, Sao Paulo, Salvador, Bahia or Recife carnivals, each in their own style, becoming an irresistible, excessive, raucous and, sometimes, dangerous event.

(Photograph:Agencia EFE)