Carnival is a four-day from celebration, happening from Saturday through Tuesday. It is usually in February, sometimes in March.
As dates change every year, one of the questions we get all the time is what exactly are the Carnival days in a specific year. It may be sometime in the past - I know what you did last Carnival! But most times it's people trying to plan ahead, like, a decade ahead!
If this is the question you had in mind, skip the dull explanations, and jump to our Carnival Date Finder! If you are trying to figure out the mystery, linger on. To find the correct dates, first you have to know when Easter happens. Then just count back the weeks. Seven weeks to be precise. Carnival Sunday is 49 days before Easter Sunday. Seems easy, right?
Not really. Easter changes dates every year, so we are basically back to square one... Now we are giving you a second chance to jump to the Carnival Date Finder, as the details are even duller. Easter happens on the first Sunday after the full moon that falls on or after the Spring Equinox. The Spring Equinox is the first day of Spring of the Northern Hemisphere.
This is the way things were defined by the Council of Nicaea in AD325, so who are we to question. In AD590 Gregorius I, the Great, set a date named dominica ad carne levandas, that supposedly was eventually shortened into the term Carnaval we use today in the Portuguese language.
There are more complications. From circa 46 BC to 1582 most countries used the Julian calendar. The first records of Carnival in Brazil date back to around the 1720's, though, with the arrival of Portuguese immigrants coming from the islands of Azores and Cabo Verde. We will thus keep things simple (as if), and stick to the Gregorian Calendar, the most widely used in the world today.
Now let's cut to the chase: we developed a Carnival Date Finder that is good for any year from 1583 to 9999! We hope to see you in Rio before that, of course. For tips on things to do and see next Carnival try our Carnival Party Planner!