Natal Events, Things to Do and Festivals 2014 / 2015

(Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil)

For much of Brazil, the carnival (carnaval) season and related festivals take place during the period leading up to Ash Wednesday, usually at the end of February or beginning of March. However, Natal is unusual in that its annual carnival events and related things to do are staged during the first week of December, making this one of the most significant out-of-season carnivals in the whole of Brazil.

Known affectionately as 'Carnatal', the Natal carnival celebrations have become hugely popular and include many exciting and enjoyable events, with 'trio elétricos' (large trucks with bands playing on their roof) taking to the streets around the Machadao Stadium (Estádio Dr. Joao Cláudio Vasconcelos Machado), where they are followed by crowds of dancers and partygoers. Those who want to follow the trio elétrico must first purchase a ticket allowing them to access a designated 'block' (bloco).

Natal Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015

Although the carnival marks the high-point in Natal's events calendar, there are a number of further festivals worth looking out for. The Festa Junina (June Bonfire Festival / Saint John Festival) is one such event, lasting around two weeks and culminating each year on June 24th. Festivities generally commence on St. Anthony's Day (June 12th) and include innumerable bonfires, fireworks, folk dancing events, feasting and lots of live music.

In mid-August, the MADA - Música Alimento da Alma (Music, Food for the Soul) draws large crowds to Natal and has become one of Brazil's most influential pop music festivals. On September 7th, you may like to join in the celebrations on the Brazilian Independence Day, which is a national holiday.

Christmas is another cause for much revelry in Natal, particularly since the city's name literally translates as Christmas in Portuguese. Expect various concerts, theatrical performances and markets, followed soon after by the New Year's Eve parties.