Brazil Carnival 2015 ” The Greatest Show On Earth”

Brazil Carnival 2015 ” The Greatest Show On Earth”

  • Rio’s five-day-long Carnival ended with a riotous grand finale at the Sambadrome
  • The samba schools were competing for the best performance which will be announced later in the week
  • The rain held off on Monday night, as tens of thousand of revelers gathered for the grand finale
  • Some Samba schools decided to celebrate the country’s African heritage on the final night of Carnival

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carnival parades
Uniao da Ilha samba school led the way with their colourful performance on the second day of the most important carnival parades

Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival came to a glittering end last night last night with a mind-blowing evening of sequin-fuelled revelry, blaring music and scantily-clad dancers at the Sambadrome. Tens of thousands of people gathered on both sides of the imposing venue to watch and sing along as Rio’s famous Samba schools brought the five-day festival to a spectacular close. But in the midst of the all the glitz and glamour, there was also a more serious note to the proceedings last night, with a call for more racial integration in the South American country.

iconic Sambadrome
Little was left tot he imagination as Unidos da Tijuca performed their spectacular routines while parading through Rio’s iconic Sambadrome

Some Samba groups decided to honor the country’s diverse Afro-Brazilian heritage, and one even built a giant Nelson Mandela float in a bid to remind revelers of the African leader’s fight for equality.  Top-tier samba group Imperatriz Leopoldinense said it was inspired by an incident of racism in football, when a banana was thrown at Barcelona star Dani Alves during a match last year against Villarreal.  Brazilian player Alves ignited a movement against racism in the game after he was seen cooly picking up the banana and eating it before taking a corner kick.

Elaborate costumes encrusted
Elaborate costumes encrusted with hundres of sequins are par for the course during Carnvial… not to mention copious amounts of flesh

‘People think that discrimination in Brazil is a thing of the past,’ says Andre Bonatte, who coordinates cultural affairs for Imperatriz. ‘But we are here to say it is not like that. There are still many racist displays in our society.’ Earlier in the evening, the carnival kicked off with thousands of performers in fluorescent orange-and-yellow costumes and Halloween-like floats of tarantullas and Jack the Ripper. Elsewhere, Rio’s alcohol-soaked Carnival street parties – known as ‘blocos’ – were in full swing, with many revelers attending a dedicated ‘Tinder-themed’ party.

A number of Samba schools decided
A number of Samba schools decided to celebrate the country’s African heritage on the final night of Rio’s world-famous Carnival

People go crazy during Carnival and everyone hooks up with as many people as possible,’ said Fernando de Almeida, a 27-year old web designer who was among several hundred costumed revelers at ‘Match Comigo,’ which literally translates as ‘match with me.’ Brazilians are among the top users of Facebook, and the founder of Tinder, a popular dating app, said in an interview last April that it already had 10 million users in the country.  Luckily, the rain held off for the final night of the all-night extravaganza. On Sunday night the skies opened up about an hour ahead of the start of the parade, drenching revellers and performers and flooding streets around the arena, Rio’s Mecca of Carnival.

Drum queen Juliana Alves from the Unidos
Drum queen Juliana Alves from the Unidos da Tijuca samba school parades made a dramatic entrance during carnival celebrations

Wildly costumed performers from six Samba schools packed the Sambadrome, where tennis ace Rafael Nadal was a star guest of the parade clad in a clear waterproof poncho. Nadal, in town for the Rio Open tournament, was mobbed by the press during his 20-minute stay at the event where he showed some fancy samba-style footwork of his own among the performers with Spanish compatriot David Ferrer and Brazil’s own former French Open winner Gustavo ‘Guga’ Kuerten. The year’s five-day-long Carnival celebrations, which also include some 450 alcohol-soaked street parties, or ‘blocos,’ comes as a welcome respite from the recent avalanche of bad news afflicting Brazil. 

There was also a more serious note
There was also a more serious note to the proceedings last night, with a call for more racial integration in the South American country

In addition to near-constant reminders of the stalled economy, Brazilians are coping with a snowballing corruption scandal at the state-run oil giant Petrobras as well as the worst drought in 80 years in the southeast, which includes Rio and the country’s industrial and business hub of Sao Paulo. Some Carnival celebrations in smaller cities have even been cancelled because of the drought so Sunday’s rains in Rio were widely welcomed, even if they were a hindrance to the city’s biggest party.

The grand finale was awash with thousands
The grand finale was awash with thousands of colourful costumes as performers danced and paraded their way down the Sambadrome

‘It hasn’t dampened the performers’ spirits, and at least it’s not so hot with the rain,’ said Helio Abreu, a 53-year-old doctor taking shelter with his wife at a concession stand.  I know we need it, but to tell you the truth I really wish it had started on Ash Wednesday,’ the last day of Carnival. In Paraty, a colonial jewel of a city between Rio and Sao Paulo, Carnival was scaled down after a deadly shooting on Saturday night.  One person was killed and nine others injured, including three tourists from Sao Paulo, in the shootout which erupted in the midst of a crowd of revellers in the historic downtown, according to local news reports.

performers weighed down by hundreds
More is more when it comes to the elaborate costumes at Carnival with many performers weighed down by hundreds of sequins and feathers

Six samba schools were parading in Rio’s Sambadrome on Sunday night, with each group required to get their thousands of participants and giant floats across the roughly 730 meter-long runway in under 82 minutes. Six other schools will perform on Monday, with all 12 groups vying for the title of the year’s best. Mangueira and Salgueiro were the biggest-name samba schools parading Sunday.  Last year’s champion, Unidos da Tijuca, is the last parade Monday, with the winning school announced later in the week.

Brazilian heritage
A number of Rio’s famous Samba groups decided to honor the country’s diverse Afro-Brazilian heritage

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A young girl from Beija-Flor
A young girl from Beija-Flor samba school proved age was no barrier as she participates in the samba parade at the Sambadrome
Young revellers from Beija-Flor samba school
Young revellers from Beija-Flor samba school proved they had just as much rhythm as their older counterparts with their own parade
excited children getting
It may have been past their bed time, but that didn’t stop these excited children getting in on the Carnival action
both sides of the imposing venue
Tens of thousands of people gathered on both sides of the imposing venue to watch and sing along to Rio’s famous Samba schools
performers the rain
Luckily for revelers and performers the rain held off on Monday night. A torrential downpour soaked party-goers on Sunday night
samba schools were competing
The samba schools were competing for the best performance which will be announced later in the week
elaborate Carnival floats
The elaborate Carnival floats take months of careful planning and preparation to create the enormous masterpieces to take part in the parade
Anything goes at Rio de Janeiro
Anything goes at Rio de Janeiro’s infamous carnival, but these performers were wearing more than most…
Members of the samba group
Members of the samba group Uniao da Ilha created a spectacular collage of colourful flowers and butterflies with their costumes

While Carnival exploded
While Carnival exploded in a riot of colour inside the Sambadrome, hundreds of alcohol-soaked parties lined the streets of Rio de Janeiro
Thousands of dedicated performers
Thousands of dedicated performers take part in the parade and spend hours applying make-up and getting into the elaborate costumes
dazzling blue feathers and verdant
Golden beaks, dazzling blue feathers and verdant green trees encrusted in glitter brought proceedings to a spectacular close last night
Elaborate costumes, not to mention
Elaborate costumes, not to mention the weird an the wonderful all made an appearance during the grand finale on Monday night
Portela samba school
A reveller from Portela samba school participates in the carnival samba parade which seemed to celebrate the afterlife 
Sao Clemente samba school
Sao Clemente samba school also had a somewhat morbid theme, with dancers wearing huge skeleton costumes
Unidos da Tijuca samba
Unidos da Tijuca samba school is one of the most famous and created a colourful display using dancers dressed in LED lights
One reveller glistened spectacula
One reveller glistened in a spectacular peacock-themed costume for the Unidos da Tijuca parade on the final night
samba group Uniao
Members of the samba group Uniao da Ilha perform on the second day of the most important parades and the closing day of the festival
Big blue hair, bikinis and chaps-style
Big blue hair, bikinis and chaps-style leggings that leave little to the imagination in Viradouro samba school’s Carnival performance
Vila Isabel samba school perform
The Vila Isabel samba school perform during the spectacular Carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome on Sunday
Model Juliana Paesthe from Viradouro
Model Juliana Paesthe from Viradouro samba school sparkles during their performance as one of Rio’s top-ranked groups
Viradouro school opened Sunday
The Viradouro school opened Sunday night’s parade and transformed the venue into a sea of gold and white
feather-winged costume
A lavish feather-winged costume is sported by this dancer from the Salgueiro samba school in the annual carnival parade in Rio

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shortage of skin
There was no shortage of skin on show during the most celebrated Carnival celebrations in the world on Sunday
woman holds a baby at the front extravagant float
A giant mould of a woman holds a baby at the front of this extravagant float from the Viradouro samba school
child sleeps
A child sleeps in a tropical setting on the Mangueira samba school’s float on the first night of the First League parades
shades of Mangueira
The many shades of Mangueira samba school, who are the oldest of the competing Rio samba schools
Spectators stand in plastic ponchos
Spectators stand in plastic ponchos or umbrellas as the Viradouro samba school file past at the Sambadrome on Sunday night
Viradouro samba school
The Viradouro samba school must have looked at the weather forecast as a deluge came an hour before the parade in drought-ridden Rio
Incredible detail features
Incredible detail features in the costume worn by this dancer from Viradouro samba school, a former champion of Carnival’s main event
Casts of male dancers
Casts of male dancers in crisp white suits feature in another of Viradouro’s lavish displays that opened proceedings on Sunday
 cocoon in a tree
From a cocoon in a tree into a beautiful orange and yellow butterfly – another of the vast array of colours from Viradouro
skies opening up with torrential
Even with the skies opening up with torrential rain about an hour ahead of the start of the all-night extravaganza, the show went on
Revellers from Mangueira
Revellers from Mangueira, Rio’s most popular samba school which won the very first parade to be held in the Sambadrome
More colour from the Manguiera
More colour from the Manguiera as music blared on the fourth of five days of parade competitions in the unique stadium
 feathers, glitter, diamantes and skin are all present
Sequins, feathers, glitter, diamantes and skin are all present and accounted for in Mangueira drum queen Evelyn Bastos’s costume
American theme
An American theme is presented in this float from Mocidade samba school, the third school to delight thousands on Sunday
schools spend months perfecting
The schools spend months perfecting their costumes and performances in preparation for Carnival
Mangueira, second up on Sunday
Mangueira, second up on Sunday on the first of two nights of shows for the top-rated samba schools
Vila Isabel drum queen
Vila Isabel drum queen and Brazilian celebrity Sabrina Sato appears to be enjoying herself no end during the school’s performance
barely there costume
A barely there costume is worn by a performer from Vila Isabel, who entered the arena just after midnight
Vila Isabel perform
Vila Isabel perform as part of the five-day-long official Carnival celebrations, which also include some 450 alcohol-soaked street parties
Brazilian singer Martinho
Brazilian singer Martinho da Vila parades with Vila Isabel – his compositions feature as part of their Carnival performances
Opulent headdresses
Opulent headdresses add to the vibrant performance from the Salgueiro school at the Sambadrome
Their theme 'A Grande Rio é do
Their theme ‘A Grande Rio é do baralho’ means The Great River is a Desk and plays on the notion that Carnival is a game to many
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal
Spanish tennis star Rafael Nadal (left) dances during the parade on Sunday with Brazil’s biggest name in the sport, Gustavo Kuerten

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