Home LATEST NEWS A magical Rio carnival to bury COVID-19

A magical Rio carnival to bury COVID-19

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To make up for lost time, to make up for lost joy, such was the desire of some 20,000 dancers and percussionists from the six samba schools who marched fervently through the sambadrome and of the 75,000 spectators who shouted at each other in the stands as they passed.

We missed the carnival so much, what energy there will behad predicted before parading on the night of Friday to Saturday Tita Nunes, a 31-year-old Brazilian, in reference to the cancellation of the festivities in 2021.

After all this tragedy, we must celebrate lifealso said Thelma Fonseca, dazzling smile and sequined costume, dancer from the Imperatriz school.

We have been waiting for this carnival for two years. We are very happy. »

A quote from Thelma Fonseca, dancer
Rio Carnival Parade.

Some 20,000 dancers from six samba schools paraded at the sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro.

Photo: Getty Images / MAURO PIMENTEL

Six samba schools paced the 700 meters of the sambadrome for an hour, in an orgy of feathers, glitter, percussion and wild dancing. They paraded with allegorical floats as high as multi-storey buildings, sometimes staggering.

Six others will parade for the second carnival night, until dawn on Sunday. The title of champion will cover the best samba school with glory.

The cancellation of the carnival last year was experienced as a national tragedy by Brazilians, as it is in the DNA of an entire people crazy about samba.

Carnival of Rio.

Members of the Beija-Flor samba school at the Rio Carnival.

Photo: Getty Images / Wagner Meier

But a year ago, COVID killed 3,000 people a day in Brazil, compared to 100 today. The sambadrome had been converted into a vaccination center.

The pandemic has made Brazil the second most bereaved country in the world behind the United States, with more than 660,000 dead.

Political messages

As usual, the samba schools, mostly from the favelas, addressed political themes in their parades.

Eight of the 12 schools scheduled to perform on the two nights chose to represent anti-racism and the African roots of samba.

Carnival of Rio.

A member of the Salgueiro samba school during the parade on the third day of the Carnival.

Photo: Getty Images/Buda Mendes

Third school to parade in the early hours of Saturday, Salgueiro presented with some 3,000 dancers and percussionists his show in the form of a punch, Resistanceinspired by the protest movement Black Lives Matter that shook the United States.

On sumptuous floats, dancers swayed in front of signs: Freedom comes from black people Where Justice and Inclusion.

Under the government of Jair Bolsonaro, racism is more humiliating, because it comes from abovesays Claudia Nascimento, who paraded with Salgueiro, in reference to the far-right president known for his racist protrusions.

By choosing the theme of the 1919 carnival, organized after the terrible Spanish flu, the Unidos do Viradouro school metaphorically evoked this 2022 edition of post-COVID rebirth.

Carnival of Rio.

Members of the Salguero samba school perform during the first night of carnival parades at the sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro.

Photo: Getty Images / MAURO PIMENTEL

The party that everyone was waiting for was bereaved by the death on Friday of an 11-year-old girl, crushed two days earlier by a tank at the exit of the sambadrome.

The Greatest Show on Earth

Without carnival, Rio would not be Rioexulted on Wednesday its mayor and first admirer, Eduardo Paes, declaring open the greatest show on earth.

Apart from the jubilation, the carnival brings a manna to the marvelous citywhere it generates 45,000 jobs and 4 billion reais (more than 1 billion Canadian dollars) in revenue.

In 2020, Rio had received more than 2.1 million tourists. This year, even if there are fewer foreigners, the hotel industry, devastated by COVID, is delighted with an occupancy rate of 85%.

A dancer during the Rio Carnival.

A dancer from the Beija Flor samba school on the first night of the parade.

Photo: Getty Images / CARL DE SOUZA

Close to evangelicals who do not appreciate the sensual debauchery of carnival, President Jair Bolsonaro does not like the Carioca party. And this one makes him feel good.

In the spans, we could see spectators exhibiting large yellow fabrics with the portrait of the gagged president above which we read For a! (Outside!)

The carnival is a political and anti-fascist demonstrationsaid Nairobi Coelho, 43, an administrator in the oil sector, who marched.

years of isolation [ce carnaval] has a special taste, that of a victory for science which has developed a vaccine against the virus and of the hope of a change of government in this election year”,”text”:”After two years of isolation [ce carnaval] to a special taste, that of a victory for science which has developed a vaccine against the virus and of the hope of a change of government in this election year”}}”>After two years of isolation [ce carnaval] to a special taste, that of a victory for science which has developed a vaccine against the virus and of the hope of a change of government in this election yearshe explains.

In the presidential election in October, Bolsonaro will try to be re-elected.

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