Carnival (Carnaval in Portuguese) happens in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Carnival lasts four days, beginning on Saturday, and ending on Fat Tuesday. Carnival Sunday is seven weeks before Easter Sunday. In 2006, Carnival start February 25th, and ran through February 28th. Carnival 2007 is scheduled to run from February 17th through February 20th. And in 2008, it wil happen even earlier in February, running from the 2nd through the 5th.
Carnival in Brazil dates back to 1723. But the Brazilian modern Carnival began around 1830-1840, and has become the biggest party in the world. Rio de Janeiro erupts with music, dancing, radiant colorful costumes, and even some half nude women. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world come to participate in Brazil’s Carnival.
There is the “Parade of Schools” each night starting at 7pm, and lasting to the following morning. These take place at the Sambadrome. Samba groups compete with the best schools parading on Sunday and Monday. Each Samaba school has about three to five thousand participants. Visitors can even join a school and participate in the parade for a price.
Besides the big parades, there are smaller spotaneous processions. Anyone can join in and the end of the bandas (marching bands of brass and percussion).
There are many costume balls, some public, some private, some for foreigners. The biggest of these balls takes place at the Copacabana Palace, and is pretty expensive.

Books about Rio Carnival:
Carnival In Rio : Samba, Samba, Samba

Carnival in Rio