Mascarados in Pirenópolis. Photo © Mauro Cruz (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Unique Festivals Throughout Brazil Part 1

While Carnaval is the most famous and well-known festival, there are many more throughout the year and throughout the country that are just as incredible to experience–some are even more spectacular than Carnaval. Whether a festa is religious or historical in nature, one thing you can count on is it’ll be a heck of a party.

Author Michael Sommers. Photo © Michael Sommers.

Moon Brazil 4th Edition and Ch… Ch… Ch… Changes

When I was asked to contribute an article to accompany the recently launched 4th edition of Moon Brazil, my editor suggested an update of sorts to a piece I published four years ago upon the release of the 3rd edition. As I reread the former post, the refrain of Changes, David Bowie’s existential hit of 1971, popped up and began unspooling in my mind.

Réveillon in Trancoso. Photo © Robert Miguel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Brazil’s Many Festas

Brazilians’ fame for merrymaking is not an exaggeration. Carnaval is a spectacular example, but the year is filled with fantastic events–and many of them are quite different from Carnaval. Here’s what to expect from each celebration along with when and where they’re held.

In a cobblestoned square surrounded by colorful colonial buildings, a group of dancers in red shirts and yellow ribboned skirts dance with their arms raised.

Festivals in Salvador, Brazil: Carnaval and More

Salvador has all the prerequisite ingredients for a good party: an idyllic climate, a powerful musical and cultural heritage, the mix of Catholic and Candomblé, and a population that loves to take to the streets and celebrate. The following are a sampling of the most important and unique festivals.

A beautiful sandy beach on curving coastline with visitors scattered amongst colorful umbrellas.

Brazil’s Beach Culture: Dos and Don’ts

In Rio the beach is a fundamental part of life, and the locals abide by various cultural habits and codes. If you want to blend in, check out this list of dos and don’ts from Brazil expert Michael Sommers.

Beachgoers near a tent with a rainbow flag and beach chairs on the white sand of Ipanema beach.

Rio de Janeiro City’s Gay Scene

While Rio’s vibe is quite gay friendly, few specifically gay venues exist. GLS (a Brazilian slang term for gay, lesbica, e simpatisante; i.e., gay friendly) spaces rule, with gays, lesbians, and heteros mixing socially. Here are the hot spots to check out.

A long curtain of water spills over verdant cliffs.

Best of Brazil 21-Day Travel Itinerary

Three weeks is probably the minimum amount of time required to get a quick sampling of some of Brazil’s most noteworthy attractions, landscapes, and cultures. Considering the country’s sheer size and diversity, and the distances and travel time involved, this itinerary is very selective. After all, the goal is to enjoy your time, not to exhaust yourself, and many of Brazil’s destinations involve some sort of relaxation.

Rowboats float in the clear green waters off a busy beach.

Discover Brazil

Discover the many facets of Brazil, from its lush, lulling warmth to its intense, invariably dramatic landscapes–often secluded, and mind-numbingly beautiful–to the overlapping and unexpected contrasts of its cities, and the joy of its life.

Cover of Moon Spotlight Salvador & Bahia, 2nd ed.

Moon Spotlight Salvador & Bahia

Moon Spotlight Salvador & Bahia is an 85-page compact guide to the best of Salvador and Bahia. Brazil resident and magazine correspondent Michael Sommers offers his firsthand advice on what sights are must-sees, and sightseeing highlights maps make planning your time easy. This lightweight guide is packed with recommendations on sights, entertainment, shopping, recreation, accommodations, […]