The Brazil Carnival every year is celebrated on the four days preceding Lent. Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, is observed by Christians all over the world as a forty day period of fasting and abstinence. It is a time when worldly pleasures like meat, alcohol and chocolates are to be desisted from. It represents the period Jesus spent in the desert suffering terrible hardship.
Today, Lent is a time of religious discipline and communing with God. It culminates in one final week of severe abstinence and ends with the happy celebration of Easter, the day when Christ is said to have risen. The exuberance and celebration associated with the Brazil Carnival can be viewed as the last great party before six long weeks of sacrifice. It is perhaps not quite what the Church had in mind when it was first created but nevertheless, it has evolved into what it is today - a hysterical maniacal event of gargantuan proportions.
The Brazil Carnival dates are therefore entirely linked to the Church calendar. Dates are fixed based on the date set by the Church for Easter, Lent and Ash Wednesday. The actual date of Easter is determined by the moon and consequently changes every year. It always falls between March 22nd and April 25th. Historically Easter is supposed to be the first Sunday after the full moon following spring equinox. Since astronomers were unable to predict the exact dates of all the future full moons, the Council of Nicea decided in 325 AD to design a formula that would calculate approximate moon dates. This would allow the church to create a calendar for all the years to come and ambiguity on the subject could be avoided. The formula has remained the same ever since except for a minor change in 1583 AD. The full moon based on Ecclesiastical Tables is called the Paschal moon and usually varies 2 to 3 days from the actual full moon. Irrespective, the date of Easter is set as the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon and the Brazil Carnival get its dates from this formula.
Since the Carnival takes place on the four days preceding the forty days of Lent, the first date of the festival would be the forty-four days before Easter. Fortunately you will not need to perform this complicated calculation to find out when to book your tickets. The days for the next ten festivals starting with the 2015 Rio Carnival are listed below:
|Year||From (Friday)||To (Ash Wednesday)|
|2015||February 13, 2015||February 18, 2015|
|2016||February 5, 2016||February 10, 2016|
|2017||February 24, 2017||March 1, 2017|
|2018||February 9, 2018||February 14, 2018|
|2019||March 1, 2019||March 6, 2019|
|2020||February 21, 2020||February 26, 2020|
|2021||February 12, 2021||February 17, 2021|