NewsRio's Unusual Carnival: In Search of the Samba

Rio's Unusual Carnival: In Search of the Samba

Without parades in the sambodrome and with samba groups only in closed places, Rio de Janeiro is experiencing a completely different carnival than before the pandemic. In addition to the limited official program, there are also spontaneous gatherings.

Rio de Janeiro – After the complete failure last year, the Brazilian metropolis of Rio de Janeiro is celebrating an unusual carnival these days.

The city administration had canceled the street carnival again because of the corona pandemic and postponed the famous parades in the Sambodrome to April. But the Association of Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro (Liesa) still invited to the (unofficial) opening of the carnival with mini parades of the twelve best samba schools in the “Cidade do Samba”.

Karneval in Rio


People play music in the streets during an unofficial carnival party.

Events in closed rooms are allowed by the city administration with the argument that admission controls and checks of vaccination certificates are easier there than on the street. In Brazil, more than 70 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, and proof of vaccination is almost always required in many places when visiting public institutions.

“Last year there wasn’t even a vaccine, it was crying. Now I’ve been vaccinated three times and I can have a little fun,” said carnival fan José Flávio Pereira Guerra Júnior.

Blocos roam the streets despite the ban

On the carnival days in Rio, for example, there are various festivals on the program where the samba schools invite or so-called blocos – samba groups that otherwise roam the streets or make music in squares – perform in hotels, clubs and other places. However, the city did not approve a meeting of numerous blocos in a well-known cultural center on Saturday at short notice.

Karneval in Rio


Despite the ban, samba groups, so-called “blocos”, roamed the streets of Rio.

Despite the regulations, some samba groups roamed the streets. The firmly scheduled performances, for which an entrance fee is charged, contradict the spirit of the impromptu celebration that pre-pandemic Rio street carnival was. For example, photos of a bloco on Flamengo beach could be seen on social media in the early hours of the morning. The blocos also feature a creative way of responding to current events. A bloco, whose name alludes to Russian President Vladimir Putin, was stopped in the port area of Rio last weekend.

Flash mob-style gatherings

Some residents of Rio arranged to meet up for such events via social media and Whatsapp groups in order to make them as secret and short-term as possible, like a flash mob. Others went disguised or at least in glitter in search of the carnival atmosphere – if only to meet up in bars.

“I don’t know what to expect from this carnival,” said Ana Luiza Gardeazabal. “It’s all half approved, half forbidden. I feel like reviving what we missed last year.” Others traveled, for example to the small coastal town of Paraty, or were due to the recent landslide tragedy in Petrópolis and the Ukraine war, which also dominated media and discussions in Brazil, not even in a party mood. dpa

Dirty bomb: Russia tests its nuclear response

The exercises, overseen by President Vladimir Putin, include test launches of nuclear-capable cruise and ballistic missiles.

"Dirty bomb": Ukraine accuses Russia of planning to detonate a bomb and accuse them...

Russia accuses Ukraine of seeking to detonate a "dirty bomb" on its own territory to accuse Moscow, something that both kyiv and the West reject.

Lula and Bolsonaro will be in one of the most closed votes in Brazil:...

The ultra-conservative president and the leftist ex-president will face each other in one of the closest votes in Brazilian history. This is how they are days away from the ballot.

Curfews, limit movements: Putin imposes martial law in these Ukrainian territories

This measure makes it possible to reinforce the army, apply curfews, limit movements, impose military censorship on telecommunications, prohibit public gatherings, among others.

Ballot in Brazil, towards a technical draw?

The election on October 30 in Brazil under the Bolsonaro-Lula ticket exhibits a fierce struggle between two different models and opposing poles that disagree between democracy and autocracy.