Rio de Janeiro's 2020 Carnival celebration was filled with spectacular costumes, dances, and political satire

Pilar Olivares/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambradome.


Last week, festivities began in Rio de Janeiro for Carnival, a large celebration involving music, dancing, parades, and parties before the Catholic observance of Lent.

Cristiane Mota/Fotoarena/APCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica, Insider, The Independent


Thirteen of the city’s best samba schools took to the Sambadrome to perform their routines for tens of thousands of spectators.

Celso Pupo/Fotoarena/APCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: France 24


The samba groups integrate elaborate costume, choreography, and music to create a performance based on a theme.

Cristiane Mota/Fotoarena/APCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Some of the topics this year had political undertones.

Pilar Olivares/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: France 24


One of the floats featured the actor Marcelo Adnet mocking Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, by doing push-ups and firing imaginary finger guns, actions that Jair has done in public.

Bruna Prado/Getty ImagesThe actor Marcelo Adnet dressed as Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil, in an act of mockery.

Source: France 24


The conservative president has made remarks about indigenous groups, women, black people, and the gay community that has invited controversy in the past.

Gilson Borba/NurPhoto/Getty ImagesSao Clemente Samba School’s performance at the 2020 Carnival performance.

Source: The Guardian, France 24


Though Carnival is a celebration, many view the samba schools’ performances as a reflection of what Brazilian society is experiencing.

Leo Correa/APPerformers of the Unidos da Tijuca samba school on a float.

Source: The Guardian


The celebration of Carnival began in Italy centuries ago but has been adopted by cultures across the world.

Carl de Souza/Getty ImagesCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Brazilian Carnival celebrations are closely tied with the music and dance genre of samba.

Ricardo Moraes/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Samba is rooted in Afro-Brazilian tradition and has become an important part of Brazilian cultural heritage.

Carl de Souza/Getty ImagesCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Rio Carnival samba originated in the towns around Rio de Janeiro, where sugarcane workers had migrated after slavery was abolished in 1888.

Sergio Moraes/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Rio Carnival hosts a competition between Brazil’s best samba schools.

Pilar Olivares/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


Samba schools serve as community centres and are made up of thousands of dancers and musicians from various neighbourhoods.

Leo Correa/APA float from the Uniao da Ilha samba school during Carnival celebrations.

Source: Britannica


Since 1984, the main event of Rio Carnival has been held in the Sambadrome, a stadium built to accommodate the samba school competition.

Cristiane Mota/Fotoarena/APCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica, Sambadrome


The Sambadrome can host over 85,000 visitors.

Pilar Olivares/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica


In 2004, Rio de Janeiro was awarded the Guinness World Record for “largest carnival” with over 400,000 foreign visitors.

Carl de Souza/Getty ImagesCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Guinness World Records


Guinness World Records reports that Rio Carnival generated $US165 million in four days in 1998.

Ricardo Moraes/REUTERSCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Guinness World Records


Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebration has become iconic with over 2 million people reportedly attending each day in 2019.

Cristiane Mota/Fotoarena/APCarnival celebration at Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.

Source: Britannica

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