Carnival (Carnaval!) is in full swing in Brazil, drawing hundreds of thousands of people out onto the streets for nights of debauchery and festivity.
The celebrations reached their height on Monday when the samba schools of Rio de Janeiro hit the streets in massive, extravagant, glitzy parades.
Six of the twelve competing schools -- each with about 3,000 to 5,000 members -- danced and sang all Sunday evening until the next morning when they all poured into the Sambadrome. Each school chooses a theme for its parade, and dances to a signature song for over an hour, Fox News Latino reports.
When it comes to themes, costumes, music, and dancing no excess is deemed too much, and the bar is raised every single year. that this past Sunday, a float shaped like a mammoth wedding cake was presided over by a larger-than-life Pope Francis. Many of the dancers wow audiences with their smooth movements, and elaborate costumes -- often made with bodypaint, feathers, and glitter.
One partygoer described the energized atmosphere to EuroNews, "The feeling in the parade is like a football player who scores a goal in a stadium full of people...like in Maracana stadium."
However, Canival isn't only about the samba competition. The city of Rio de Janeiro is the site of nearly 500 racuous, alcohol-fueled street parties that run from daybreak through the night. Cities and villages throughout the country celebrate Carnival with parades, parties, and costumes, although each section of the country inserts their own regional flair into the festivities.
Tourists often flock to the country to experience the revelry for themselves to say goodbye to the "pleasures of the flesh" before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. During the 40 days period of Lent, Christians are asked to refrain from bodily pleasures.
Carnival, and similarly, Mardi Gras, are both farewell fiestas for the good times! Would you ever attend?