One of the world's best kept secrets is the formula to discover the dates of Carnaval. They change every year, according to the date of Easter Sunday in the Catholic calendar. It is a long and a fascinating story, but if you have a short attention span or just need a quick answer... We have created this Carnaval Date Finder. And completely lost the formula. Yet it works like magic. Enter the year you have in mind and press the button. If you have a couple of minutes, though, you are welcome to enjoy a bit of history.
Carnival is a four-day from celebration, happening from Saturday through Tuesday. It is usually in February, sometimes in March. As dates change one of the most common questions we used to get was from people planning ahead - like a decade ahead.
So, if you're planning to come to Rio when you turn a certain age, or something, generic websites simply do not have the answer. We created a small app that works like a charm. You can also check past dates. We went one step ahead - we also include pre and post Carnaval events, from Banda de Ipanema to the Champion's Parade!
If you are trying to figure out the mystery, read 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... Are you sure you want to lear more? Ok... 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. We are starting to move into ancient history, do not be alarmed.
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 stick to the Gregorian Calendar.
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!