Top 5: Coolest Brazilian Festivals Beyond Carnival

by Holly Riddle

May 25, 2019

Brazil © Mypix |

Top 5 / South America

Headed to Brazil? Don’t miss these best festivals that, in fact, aren’t Carnival.


Festa do Peão

Each August, São Paulo hosts its Festa do Peão, which means “Cowboy Festival.” Ongoing for more than 50 years, the festival is held in a huge stadium that attracts tens of thousands of guests every year, and includes live music and all things cowboy, from livestock to rodeos, the latter the most popular part of the event.


Festa Junina

Throughout the entire month of June, the country celebrates Saint John the Baptist with Festa Junina. Parties include dressing up in what’s considered a “rural” style (think straw hats and checkered shirts — the result is not unlike a scarecrow costume) and celebrating underneath a huge, decorated tent. The parties generally offer plenty of dancing and great food, including Brazilian cakes and wine.



Brazil has its own Oktoberfest in the city of Santa Catarina, originally a German colony founded in 1850. Welcoming more than 1 million revelers, the festival combines the best of both German and Brazilian culture for a unique take on Oktoberfest.



Reveillon, or the annual New Year’s Celebration, attracts nearly 2 million to Rio de Janeiro. The two-day event takes place Dec. 31–Jan. 1, with festivities centering on Copacabana Beach. From religious ceremonies to live music to fireworks, it’s a celebration worth catching if you can.


Celebration of Yemanja

Make plans to be in Salvador next February for this festival that recognizes the Goddess of the Sea. Join the locals to throw gifts for the goddess into the waves, with offerings ranging from bouquets to jewelry. Afterward, everyone gathers for music, food and partying.


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