Every summer since 1991, the world-class Helsinki Samba Carnaval has filled the streets of Finland’s capital with excitement and delight. Similar to Rio’s world-famous Carnival, this event is Europe’s largest Samba festival. Approximately 25,000 people attend the Helsinki Samba Carnaval each year.
The parade features performing groups, dancers and musicians from around Finland. Some of the entertainers include a children’s group, skilled Samba dancers and a percussion section. Each group of entertainers is called by their traditional name, such as the baianas, passistas and bateria.
The costumes, routines and atmosphere of the Helsinki Samba Carnaval work together to create an unforgettable experience. Festivities begin with an opening ceremony and the crowning of the Samba King and Queen. The parade the next afternoon is a combination of exhibition and competition featuring giant floats and Finland’s seven Samba schools. Each year one school is declared the best in Finland. The excitement doesn’t stop until the end of the Baile do Carnaval that takes place the following evening.
Hosted by the Association of Samba Schools in Finland (ASSF), the Helsinki Samba Carnaval was started as a way to promote samba and its rich culture throughout the country. More information about the festival can be found on the ASSF’s website.
In 2012 the Carnival will be held on June 15th – 16th in Helsinki Center, starting from Senaatintori and moving along North Esplanade. No admission fee.