Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Brazil’s carnival festivities are back after a 2-year break due to COVID

RIO DE JANEIRO ( Associated Press) – Colorful floats and flamboyant dancers jammed thousands at Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Sambadrome, delaying Carnival festivities after the pandemic halted dazzling performances.

Rio de Janeiro’s top samba schools began packing their bags late on Friday, the first evening of a two-night spectacle.

Ketula Melo, 38, was thrilled to be back at the Sambadrome, a museum at the Imperatris Leopoldinense School, dressed as the Imanza god of Afro-Brazilian religions.

“These two years were terrible. Now we can be happy again,” Melo said as she was about to enter Friday night, wearing a dress made of black-and-white shellac that barely touched her body. was covering

So Clemente samba school revelers perform during the first night of the Carnival parade at the Sambadrome on April 23, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Reuters / Pilar Olivares

Rio’s Sambadrome has been home to parades since the 1980s, and is a symbol of Brazil’s carnival celebration. During the pandemic, it was a shelter for over 400 homeless people and also served as a vaccination center.

Brazil confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus in mid-March 2020, just after that year’s Carnival festivities ended. The 2021 edition was swiftly canceled due to the rise of the delta version. More than 663,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, the second most of any country in the world, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.

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Entire communities rally around competitive samba schools, whose shows are a source of not only pride, but employment as preparation requires countless seamstresses, welders, costume designers, and more. There are months of rehearsals for dancers and drummers, so participants can learn the melody and lyrics of their school song. The pandemic upended the way of life of these samba schools for two years.

Carnival Celebrations in Rio de Janeiro

Revelers from the Mangueira samba school perform during the first night of the Carnival parade at the Sambadrome on April 22, 2022 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Reuters/Amanda Perobelli TPX images of the day

So Paulo also started its carnival parade on Friday evening. Both cities’ parades usually take place in February or March, but in January their mayors jointly announced that they were postponing Carnival by two months due to concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant.

The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths has declined since then, and more than three-quarters of Brazilians have been fully vaccinated, according to the country’s health ministry. Local authorities have allowed football matches with full attendance since March.

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Rio officials said earlier this week those attending the parade would have to show proof of vaccination, but media reports showed attendees had no trouble getting tickets or entering the sambadrome without showing necessary documents .

A seat in bleachers costs about $50, and the most expensive seats can cost more than $1,260. It costs a lot for tourists to go to one of the samba schools, but it’s often free for those who attend the parade throughout the year, such as 66-year-old Juciara do Nascimento Santos. She was among those opening this year’s parade along with the Imperatris Leopoldinense Samba School.

“During this time we had to take care of ourselves so that we could celebrate life here today,” said Santos, who has paraded with the Imperatris Leopoldinense since 1984. This time she was in Beyoncé’s section, often reserved for the oldest ladies. of each samba school. Many of these samba schools reported that they had lost many of their bayonets to the virus.

For those unprepared for the price of admission, there were street parties in Rio – despite City Hall denying authorization to take place in them, citing insufficient time for preparation. Some organizers cared no less, arguing that celebrating the carnival was not contingent on the consent of the authorities, and parties thronged the streets.

Nation World News Desk
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