Lifestyle & Belief

Carnival in Rio de Janeiro


Sabrina Sato of the Vila Isabel samba school performs during the first night of Carnival parades at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro.



Brazilians across the country celebrate Carnival but the most famous—and most expensive—celebrations are in Rio. It’s an event best captured in pictures, so here’s a summary of the most amazing ones.

The party officially started Friday, and the streets filled with drunken, costumed partiers following samba bands around the city despite rainy weather that seemed more apropos of London. (This story by the AP’s Juliana Barbassa gives some great background about these “blocos”.)

Last night marked the first of the parades of the elite “special group” of Samba schools. The spectacular competitive parades are the image of Carnival most of us see on TV, with elaborately-costumed armies marching through Rio’s Sambadrome, a specially-built avenue flanked by stadium seats. The school Unidos da Tijuca won universal praise for its costumes, floats and samba centered on the theme of fear in movies. Its parade even included a float inspired by the Steven Spielberg movie “Jaws,” with a man in the mouth of a fake shark (photo 8 in this slideshow).

Portela was the first to parade of the three schools whose costumes and floats were damaged by fire. They put on a good show despite the damage, earning admiration for their ocean theme.

The parade drew celebrity participants--Giselle paraded with the school Vila Isabel. (This is a strange mosaic of photos from the parade formed into a picture of Giselle). Jude law kissed a Brazilian television host and posed with soccer star Ronaldo, while Pamela Anderson turned a Brahma beer shirt into a skimpy dress (photo 4 in this gallery).

And, of course, no carnival would be complete without images of flesh-baring beauties. Here’s a slide show of the muses and drum queens of Carnival. And here’s a selection of videos so you can see how these women dance. And, for those with more specific interests, the newspaper O Globo offers a slide show of the buttocks—seriously, just the buttocks—of various samba-dancing standouts.