Despite economic distress and Zika virus threats, the parade at the Sambadrome was packed and “blocos”, or street parties, filled the city streets with music.
On Friday evening, the first parade of the Carnival went off without a hitch, with giant floats decorated with the Egyptian God Anubis or with threatening archers towering above legions of dancers.
On Saturday, around 1 million people lined the streets for the classical Cordao do Bola Preta, the city’s oldest bloco, along its traditional route through town.
Thousands also gathered for one of the most traditional blocos, the Banda de Ipanema, which meandered its way through the streets of one of Rio’s most well-heeled neighborhoods.
While Zika virus threats appeared not to have dampened the festive atmosphere, the municipal government did advise revellers against kissing each other for fear of spreading the virus.
To what extent the famously passionate Brazilians will take the advice remains to be seen. The Globo daily newspaper said in an editorial: “A Carnival without a kiss is like a beach without sun…it’s no fun at all.”
It is also noteworthy that the municipal police said they received some 120 reports of robberies in the main venues of carnival celebrations. Enditem