Brazil celebrates the return of Carnival

Thousands of people thronged Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Sambadrome on Saturday for carnival celebrations after two years of pandemic delays.

Rio de Janeiro’s top samba schools started strutting late Friday, which was the first night of the two-night show.

Brazil confirmed its first cases of COVID-19 in mid-March 2020, just after the end of that year’s carnival festivities. The 2021 edition was quickly canceled due to the rise of the Delta variant.

“These two years have been horrible. Now we can be happy again,” said Ketula Melo, 38, a muse of the Imperatriz Leopoldinense school dressed as the Iemanja deity of Afro-Brazilian religions, on Friday evening. She wore a revealing black and white costume made of seashells.

Here’s a look at some of the dazzling celebrations this weekend.