Sao Paulo kicked off its world-famous Carnival parade on Friday evening with some of Brazil's top samba schools performing at Anhembi Sambodrome. Friday was the first of a two-night competition in the city, which has recently emerged as a Carnival hotspot.
“It is the most valuable thing for us Brazilians, it is our culture. Foreigners, when they heard about Brazil they think about Carnival. It is our entrance door. For us, who work with carnival every day, who have carnival in our blood, it is extremely important, it is an extension of our life, for sure.” Dora Gomes, 58-year-old samba school participant said.
Seven schools perform each day. Independente Tricolor opened the show with its dancers resembling Greek fighters of one of the most famous battles in ancient Greece, the Trojan War.
The COVID-19 pandemic last year prompted Sao Paulo to delay Carnival by two months, and watered down some of the fun, which was attended mostly by locals.
This year, however, the Carnival is back in full swing to its pre-pandemic form. Brazil’s federal government expects 46 million people to join the festivities that run through Feb. 22.
“With Carnival, we are actually rescuing the possibility of maintaining our culture, which is the Black culture, a culture where everyone is welcome.” the words of Marisa Lima Pereira, a 37-year-old samba school participant.