After two years of no carnival due to the Corona crisis, the Brazilian city of Rio is preparing for the start of the carnival. Friday evening is a night full of shows on the programme. The samba schools have already announced that they will make it an unforgettable and luxurious spectacle.
As of 10 p.m. local time, 75,000 spectators are expected on the famous street where the first six samba schools will be held. There is one school per hour, in an orgy of sequins and feathers and deafening drums, around giant floats.
Millions of Brazilians sit in front of the televisions to watch the show live and celebrate until the wee hours, like every year. Every year except for last year, when the Corona crisis led to the cancellation of the carnival and plunged the country into a state of national mourning. The 2022 carnival will take place two months later than usual, because the omikron type of virus has made the authorities somewhat worried.
Of the nearly 40,000 glamorously dressed dancers and percussionists who will parade for two nights, most will surely have lost a family member or friend to the pandemic, which has left at least 660,000 dead and stagnated Brazil’s economy.
To get to the Sambódromo, spectators must show proof of vaccination. Sambódromo has been turned into a vaccination center in the worst days of the Covid pandemic. Rio is not without carnival,” said Mayor Eduardo Paes, before declaring the opening of “the greatest spectacle in the world.”
The carnival provides an economic boost to the city. It includes about 45,000 jobs and has a turnover of about 4 billion riyals (about 800 million euros). During the last edition in 2020, Rio received more than 2.1 million tourists. This year, hotel occupancy is expected to exceed 85 percent.
“Carnival is a political and anti-fascist show,” says one participant. “After two years of isolation, this version has a special feeling. One of the triumphs of science that led to the development of a vaccine to fight this virus. We also hope for a change of government in this election year.”
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