Millions party in Rio with return of Carnival

RIO DE JANEIRO, 19 Feb 2023:

Millions of people filled the streets, squares and beaches yesterday as Brazilians celebrated the return of Carnival – after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Here in Rio de Janeiro, the venerable Cordao da Bola Preta troupe paraded through downtown for the 103rd time behind a float carrying celebrities such as telenovela stars Paolla Oliveira and Leandra Leal.

Cordao dedicated their performance to the nearly 700,000 Brazilians who have die of Covid19 and many in the procession were dressed as doctors and nurses.

Costumes and jaguar masks were common among the thousands of people who flocked to the seaside Aterro do Flamengo park for a performance by the Amigos da Onca troupe.

Huge crowds were also noted in the northeastern coastal cities of Recife and Salvador, whose inhabitants’ enthusiasm for Carnival rivals that of Cariocas, as Rio residents are known.

In Recife, festivities kicked off Friday with an open-air concert by Brazilian musical icon Caetano Veloso and thousands were out early Saturday to follow the Galo da Madrugada troupe.

The country’s president, northeast native son Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is expected to join the celebration in Salvador over the course of the weekend.

Sao Paulo, South America’s largest city, was the scene of dozens of street parties yesterday ahead of a second night of performances by the elite samba schools.