Carnival – Vocabulary

Carnival in Brazil is part of Brazilian culture and starts on the Friday before Ash Wednesday and ends on Ash Wednesday at noon. 

It’s a big celebration of the food and pleasures one has to give up during Lent. 

Because the celebrations happen during Brazil’s summer, the ambiance is perfect for massive parties. There is even a common saying in Brazil that “the year starts only after Carnival,” referring to the number of people that take their holidays between New Year’s and Carnival, a national holiday.

How about learning the main words about carnival in English? Listen to pronunciation and note the words, not on the lists below.

Vocabulário geral

Street CarnivalCarnaval de rua
Samba schools paradeDesfile das escolas de samba
Carnival blocksBlocos de Carnaval
Carnival warm-upEsquenta de Carnaval

Nas escolas de samba

Flag bearerPorta-bandeira
Drum sectionAla da bateria
Drum section queenRainha da bateria
FloatsCarros alegóricos
Revelers / ParadersParticipantes ou público dos desfiles
Wing / SectionAla
Access groupGrupo de acesso
Special groupGrupo especial
Parade of championsDesfile das campeãs


  • Band on a float – Trio elétrico
  • Carnival ball – Baile de Carnaval
  • Carnival marchs – Marchinhas de Carnaval
  • Commission of front – Comissão de frente
  • Revelry – Folia
  • Samba schools rehersals – Ensaios das escolas de samba
  • Samba-plot/story – Samba–enredo

Sobre as datas

Mardi Gras / Fat TuesdayTerça-feira de Carnaval
Ash WednesdayQuarta-feira de Cinzas

Verbos úteis

(To) celebrate CarnivalPular Carnaval
(To) dress up asVestir-se de
(To) paradeDesfilar
(To) sambaSambar

Frases úteis

  • Where are you celebrating the carnival? Onde você vai pular o carnaval?
  • Are you going to parade in a street block this year? Você vai desfilar em algum bloco de rua esse ano?
  • The revelers of the drum section are wearing beautiful costumes! Os foliões da ala de bateria estão usando fantasias lindas!
  • Let’s go to the bleachers to watch the parade of champions. Vamos para as arquibancadas para vermos o desfile das campeãs.

Now, marchinhas em inglês

Have fun!

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