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The Carnival of Brazil is an annual festival held forty-six days before 46 days of Lent, Roman Catholics and some other Christians traditionally abstained from the consumption of meat and poultry. That is why the term "carnival," "to remove meat." Carnival is the most famous holiday in Brazil and has become an event of huge proportions.
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Carnival celebrations are believed to have roots in the pagan festival of Saturnalia, which, adapted to Christianity, became a farewell to bad things in a season of religious discipline to practice repentance and prepare for Christ's death and resurrection.
Participation, and costumes vary from one region of Brazil to another. In the southeastern cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, huge organized parades are led by samba schools. This carnival is heavily influenced by African-Brazilian culture.
The country stops completely for almost a week and festivities are intense, day and night, mainly in coastal cities. The government distributes condoms and launches awareness campaigns at this time to prevent the spread of AIDS.