The 2021 edition of the Carnival was cancelled due to a spike in Covid-19 cases, but it is back and exuberant as ever now that infections are plunging.
Colourful floats and flamboyant dancers delight tens of thousands jammed into Rio de Janeiro's iconic Sambadrome, putting on a delayed Carnival celebration after the pandemic halted the dazzling displays.
Rio de Janeiro’s top samba schools began strutting their stuff on Friday, the first evening of the two-night spectacle that continues on Saturday.
The 2021 Carnival was swiftly cancelled due to the rise in coronavirus cases fuelled by the Delta variant.
For the Carnival, communities rally around the competing samba schools, whose shows are not only a source of pride but also employment since preparations require countless seamstresses, welders, costume designers and more.
There are months of rehearsals for dancers and drummers, so participants can learn the tune and the lyrics for their school's song.
Sao Paulo also kicked off its Carnival parade Friday evening.
Both cities' parades usually take place in February or March, but their mayors in January jointly announced they were postponing Carnival by two months due to concerns about the proliferation of the Omicron variant.
The number of Covid-19 cases and deaths has plunged since then, and more than three-quarters of Brazilians are fully vaccinated, according to the country's health ministry.
Rio authorities said earlier this week those attending the parade would have to show proof of vaccination.
However, media reports showed that attendees had no trouble getting tickets or entering the Sambadrome without showing the required documents.
For those unwilling to shell out for the price of admission, there were street parties across Rio — despite City Hall denying authorisation for them to take place, citing insufficient time to prepare.
Some organisers couldn't care less, arguing that celebrating Carnival wasn't contingent on authorities' consent, and partiers hit the streets in force.