Samba time! Brazil Carnival erupts in an explosion of colour as
millions thunder through the streets for the start of the five-day
Brazil's Carnival celebrations opened
with a bang yesterday as hundreds of thousands took to the streets to
enjoy the start of the country's famous parades and street parties.
popstar Psy, whose "Gangnam Style" single with its signature dance
moves has made him a global phenomenon, performed to huge crowds in
Salvador, Brazil's third-biggest city, last night.
Other Brazilian and foreign celebrities,
including US actress Megan Fox, are flying out to liven up the
celebrations in Rio de Janeiro and elsewhere.
Parade: Members of the Mancha Verde samba school at Sao Paulo's Sambadrome
Va-Va voom: Dancers from Vai-vai samba school take centrestage in the parade at San Paulo last night
five days of street parties, balls and parades traditionally shut down
most of Latin America's biggest country, luring millions of
locals and tourists to celebrations across the country. Rio alone is
expected to attract 900,000 tourists and generate £420 million for the
local economy this year.
The different carnivals, which take
place in Sao Paulo, Pernambuco, Minas Gerais as well as Rio and
Salvador and numerous other cities, each showcase their own type of music such as samba,
samba-reggae and funk samba. Last night parades began in Sao Paulo's specially built Sambadrome, a space designed for parades.
Got rhythm: a queen of the drums of the Rosas de
Ouro samba school performs during the first night of Sao Paulo's
Technicolor samba: dancers from the Rosas de Ouro samba school perform in Sao Paulo in the small hours of this morning
Fab for a parade: members of the Academicos do
Tatuape samba school perform in Sao Paulo while this dancer from the
Rosas de Ouro samba school is dwarfed by his float
Piano men: members of the Mancha Verde samba school wow the audience in Sao Paulo's Sambadrome
In flight: the samba groups bid to outperform
each other, and carnivals in the regions of Brazil showcase different
styles of samba linked to their local heritage
The annual event takes place in
the days leading up to Lent, the 40-day period before Easter. It began
yesterday with the the mayor of Rio de Janeiro symbolically handing over
the keys of the city to King Momo, the ceremonial figurehead of
Brazil's best-known Carnival celebrations.
this year's festivities are taking place under the pall of the recent
nightclub fire that killed 238 people in the southern city of Santa
Maria. Sixty-five others are still hospitalised.
Thursday evening President Dilma Rousseff attended a mass in honour of
the victims of the disaster at the cathedral in Brasilia, the capital.
Her press office said she would not be taking part in this year's events.
of cities, most of them near where the 27 January nightclub disaster
occurred, cancelled or toned down some of their festivities.
of nightclubs and other venues remain closed after municipal
authorities across the country moved to crack down on lax enforcement of
safety codes, one of several factors that investigators say led to the tragedy in Santa Maria.
Torquato, a columnist writing in the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper, this
week compared Brazil to a 'see-saw', a country where emotional 'highs
and lows relieve each other without interruption'.
addition, Salvador suffered a power cut on Thursday, which was caused
by short circuits after revellers threw Carnival tinsel on power lines.
Charge: after the Sao Paulo festivities last night and tonight, parades in Rio kick off on Sunday
Weird and wonderful: members of the samba school Rosas de Ouro Special Group at the Sambadrome
Big band: drummers from the Mancha Verde samba school make some noise
Energy: carnival marks the run-up to Lent, historically a few days of indulgence before the period of abstinence
Come on, boys: the five days of parades, balls and street parties are expected to attract millions of locals and tourists
Shout it out: the overwhelming popularity of the carnival events boosts Brazil's economy to the tune of £420 million
Walk like an Egyptian: revellers' costumes have become iconic in the way Brazil markets itself to the world