With the first legendary samba school parades since Covid-19 began wreaking havoc throughout Brazil on Friday, Rio de Janeiro’s carnival, a bright, sequin-studded celebration of the body, sprang back into life.
After more than two years, a swarm of dancers and drummers returned the “Sambadrome,” the city’s official carnival parade site, which had been converted into a drive-through vaccination facility during the height of the public health emergency in 2010.
The all-night parades by the city’s top samba schools on Friday and Saturday nights will be the first since February 2020, signalling a watershed moment in the recovery of hard-hit Brazil, where Covid-19 has claimed more than 660,000 lives, placing it second only to the United States in terms of casualties per capita.
“I’m so overjoyed right now. I believe a large number of people, including myself, will shed tears when the parades begin “Ana Vieira, a 48-year-old geography teacher, was dressed in a gigantic, shimmering white costume as she awaited her time to march for the Imperatriz samba school, which she joined in the procession.
“Carnival is a way of life. You can see the relief on people’s faces after two years of being stuck at home and missing out on everything “Vieira, who has been parading for 20 years, spoke to AFP about his experience.
An 11-year-old girl died after being wounded in a horrible float accident at a lower-level samba school parade contest on Wednesday night, which served as a preview of the major event. The tragedy occurred before the festivities even got underway.
She was taken to the hospital, but died as a result of her injuries on Friday, according to city authorities.
In 2017, tragedy rocked Rio de Janeiro’s carnival when two freak float accidents claimed the lives of one person and wounded scores more.