Rio de Janeiro’s annual Carnival parade has kicked off to the sound of drums, dancing and fireworks.
An estimated 800,000 revellers turned out for the festivities, including Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen and football star Ronaldhino.
Each year, Rio’s 12 best samba schools battle it out to be crowned Carnival champions.
One dancer from the Portela school insisted first prize was not important. “It’s simply great to be here. The large crowds give us a lot of energy,” she said.
One month ago, a fire destroyed most of Portela’s carnival costumes, putting their participation in doubt.
The winning samba school, judged on choreography, music, dancing and creativity, is regarded as triumphantly as any winning football team.
But the fun and frolics are not just confined to Rio. Similar events are taking place in towns and cities across Brazil. The party goes on until Tuesday evening.
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