AP

Rio’s dazzling Carnival parade resumes after pandemic hiatus

Apr 22, 2022, 7:48 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

A member of the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school performs during the Carnival parade at the Sa...

A member of the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school performs during the Carnival parade at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, April 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

(AP Photo/Bruna Prado)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Rio de Janeiro’s top samba schools began putting on their delayed Carnival parades late Friday, the first after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19-pandemic.

The schools colorful floats and flamboyant dancers began entering the Sambadrome grounds to parade before tens of thousands of fans on the first evening of the two-night spectacle.

Ketula Melo, 38, a muse in the Imperatriz Leopoldinense school dressed as the Iemanja deity of Afro-Brazilian religions, was thrilled to go to the Sambadrome.

“These two years were horrible. Now we can be happy again,” Melo said as she was about to enter, wearing a black and white costume made of shells that barely covered her body.

Rio’s Sambadrome has been home to the parade since the 1980s, and is a symbol of Brazil’s Carnival festivities. During the pandemic, it was a shelter for more than 400 homeless people and also served as a vaccination station.

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

Entire communities rally around the competing samba schools, whose shows are not only a source of pride but also employment since preparations require countless seamstresses, welders, costume designers and more. There are months of rehearsals for dancers and drummers, so participants can learn the tune and the lyrics for their school’s song. The pandemic upended these samba schools’ way of life for two years.

Sao Paulo also kicked off its Carnival parade Friday evening. Both cities’ parades usually take place in February or March, but their mayors in January jointly announced they were postponing Carnival by two months due to concerns about the proliferation of the omicron variant.

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

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

A seat in the bleachers cost about $50, and the most expensive seats can cost more than $1,260. Going out in one of the samba schools costs a lot for tourists, but it is often free for people who are involved with the parade all year round, like 66-year-old Juciara do Nascimento Santos. She was among the revelers starting this year’s parade with the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school.

“We had to take care of ourselves during this time so we could be here today celebrating life,” said Santos, who has paraded with Imperatriz Leopoldinense since 1984. This time she was in the section of the baianas, often reserved for the oldest women of each samba school. Many of these samba schools reported they lost many of their baianas to the virus.

For those unwilling to shell out for the price of admission, there were street parties across Rio — despite City Hall denying authorization for them to take place, citing insufficient time to prepare. Some organizers couldn’t care less, arguing that celebrating Carnival wasn’t contingent on authorities’ consent, and partiers hit the streets in force.

___

Savarese reported from Sao Paulo.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

4 days ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

5 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

7 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

11 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

21 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

22 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines can get you smoothly from Phoenix to Frankfurt on new A330-900neo airplane

Adventure Awaits! And there's no better way to experience the vacation of your dreams than traveling with Condor Airlines.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Rio’s dazzling Carnival parade resumes after pandemic hiatus