How Rio Is Scaling Back Its Carnival Celebrations Amid COVID-19
Rio's world-famous Carnival celebration will go ahead this year despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — but the party won't be the same as years past.
While Rio's famed Carnival samba parade at Marques de Sapucai Sambadrome will return, the legendary street celebrations that typically surround will not due to the fast-moving omicron variant of the coronavirus, Reuters reports.
"The street carnival, by its very nature, due to the democratic aspect it has, makes it impossible to exercise any kind of inspection," Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said, Reuters reported.
Rio's Carnival typically includes a formal samba parade as well as a collection of street parties, all marked by festive, feathered, and absolutely wild costumes. The city's official samba parade features performances from the country's top samba schools, which devote months preparing to compete with one another.
Other Brazilian cities also are canceling or altering their local Carnival celebrations amid a resurgence of COVID-19 across the country.
Still, this year's Carnival celebration in Rio is a step above last year when the city was forced to cancel the entire event. Brazilians have danced through wars, repressive military rule, even the flu pandemic of 1918 and 1919, The New York Times notes.
While Carnival is celebrated around the world in places including Venice, Trinidad and Tobago, and New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro is home to one of the world's most famous parties. Rio's Carnival celebration is among the largest in the world and traces its history to the early 1700s.
This year, the celebration, which precedes Lent and ends on Ash Wednesday, is scheduled for Feb. 25 through March 5.