February. Carnival. Brazil's Carnival festival is the most popular secular festival and is held in the country's streets. It is celebrated for three days before Ash Wednesday and attracts thousands of tourists every year. The best known carnivals are the Carnival of Rio de Janeiro, the Carnivals of Olina and Recife and the Carnival of Salvador de Bahia. In Rio's Carnival spectacular parades of samba schools are held which compete against each other to be the best each year.
April 15. Festivals of the Cavalhadas in Pirenópolis (Goiás). This is a national holiday celebrated 45 days after Easter. They have the same international renown as those held in Spain and allude to the battles in which the Christians drove out the Moors.
April 21. Festival of Tiradentes. A national holiday which commemorates the death of Joaquin Jose da Silva Xavier (Tiradentes), considered a national hero in the struggle for the independence of Brazil during the Inconfidencia Minera, a late 18th century independence movement.
September 7. Independence Day. Brazilians commemorate the declaration, by Don Pedro I, of the separation of the country from Portugal.
October 12. Festival of la Virgen Aparecida, Patron of Brazil. Thousands of faithful from all over Brazil come to Aparecida do Norte (São Paulo), to attend church services, processions and to visit the Basilica. It is the largest religious concentration of the country. November 15. Anniversary of the Proclamation of the Republic. This national holiday commemorates the end of the empire and the beginning of the republican era.
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