A typical Carnival day in Brazil starts around 7 a.m., when the first blocos — as the free street parties are known — start their loud and colorful musical journey down the city’s streets. Drummers, stilt walkers, trumpet players and other performers, all dressed up and lacquered in glitter, attract thousands of followers.
Blocos are thematic, inspiring the costumes and songs of their followers. In Rio alone, the city authorized 500 street parties this year.
On Saturday, a dog donned an alligator costume during the Blocão dog Carnival parade, a play on words that joins “bloco” and “cão,” or dog in Portuguese. In northeastern Brazil’s Madre de Deus, there is even an aluminum can street party, where performers dress up in gigantic outfits made from approximately 1,600 cans gathered over the course of the previous months, then thoroughly washed to dispose of lingering odors.
Some blocos are powered by behemoth sound trucks known as electric trios, others by small fanfares.
From the different street parties, which usually end in the evening, some revelers move onto the Sambadrome, where samba schools parade and compete to win the annual title.
From giant unicorns to greater-than-life divinities, the samba schools spend much of the year preparing massive floats and churning out elaborate costumes to enact a parade before millions of spectators, both present and watching live on television.
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