The Rio Carnival on its first night brought a magical spectacle, cheers and procession magic to make people forget about two years of the tragedy caused by Covid-19, who was bleeding Brazil.
To make up for lost time, to make up for lost joy, such was the desire of about 20,000 dancers and percussionists from six samba schools, who zealously marched through the sambadrom, and 75,000 spectators, who shouted at each other in the stands. passed.
“We missed the carnival so much that there would be energy,” the 31-year-old Brazilian Tita Nunes predicted before the march on Friday night, Saturday, alluding to the cancellation of the festivities in 2021.
“After all this tragedy, we have to celebrate life,” said Thelma Fonseca, with a dazzling smile and glittering costume, a dancer from the Imperatriz school.
“We have been waiting for this carnival for two years. We are very happy, “added this 43-year-old employee.
Six samba schools walked 700 meters of sambadrom for an hour in orgies of feathers, glitter, percussion and wild dance. They paralyzed with allegorical floats as tall as multi-storey buildings, sometimes stunning.
The other six will tour the second night of the carnival, until Sunday dawn. The title of champion will cover the best samba school with fame.
The cancellation of the carnival last year was experienced by the Brazilians as a national tragedy, because it is in the DNA of the whole people crazy about samba.
But a year ago, COVID-19 killed 3,000 people a day in Brazil, compared to 100 today. Sambadrom was transformed into a vaccination center.
The pandemic has made Brazil the second most grieving country in the world after the United States, with more than 660,000 deaths.
Justice and inclusion
Samba schools, mostly from favelas, dealt with political issues as usual in their shows.
Eight of the 12 schools scheduled for two nights decided to represent anti-racism and the African roots of samba.
The third march on Saturday morning, with some 3,000 dancers and percussionists performing, showed his show in the form of the “Resistance” strike, inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” protest movement that shook the United States.
On the ostentatious floats, the dancers swayed in front of the inscriptions: “Freedom comes from blacks” or “Justice” and “Inclusion”.
Under Jair Bolsonar, “racism is degrading because it comes from above,” says Claudia Nascimento – who marched with Salgueire – in reference to an far-right president known for his racist remarks.
By choosing the theme of the carnival in 1919, organized after the terrible Spanish flu, the Unidos do Viradouro school metaphorically evoked this issue after Covid in 2022.
The party everyone was waiting for was crushed by Friday’s death of an 11-year-old girl who had been crushed by a tank at the exit of the sambadrom two days earlier.
“Without the carnival, Rio would not have been Rio,” rejoiced Wednesday, its mayor and first admirer Eduardo Paes, declaring it the “largest show on Earth.”
In addition to the cheers, the carnival brings income to the “Amazing City”, where it creates 45,000 jobs and 4 billion nes (about 800 million euros).
In 2020, Rio received more than 2.1 million tourists. Although there are fewer foreigners, the hotel industry devastated by COVID-19 enjoys 85% occupancy this year.
Critics against Bolsonar
President Jair Bolsonaro, close to evangelicals who do not appreciate the sensual debauchery of the carnival, does not like the Carioca party. And this does him good.
In the footage, we saw spectators showing large yellow cloths with a portrait of the president with a gag, above which we read “Forums!” (“outside!”).
“The carnival is a political and anti-fascist demonstration,” said Nairobi Coelho, 43, an oil sector administrator who marched.
“After two years of isolation (this carnival), it has a peculiar flavor, a flavor of victory for the science that developed the virus vaccine, and hopes for a change of government this election year,” he explains. In the October presidential election, Bolsonaro will try to be re-elected.