Today is Mardis Gras and the last day of Carnaval in Brazil, which is almost like their equivalent of the Superbowl, except that it starts on Friday night and it doesn’t stop until the following Tuesday.
This is the first time that I’ve ever seen the competing Samba schools of São Paulo giving the more famous ones of Rio a run for their money! Samba schools or blocks compete with one another to be judged on who has the best floats, costumes, choreographies, music and lyrics, all of which are created by volunteer members. The themes range from the sublime to the surreal. Here, we see Roman legions, Star Wars, Back to the Future, the Yoruban sky god, Ancient Egypt and Amerindian-themed dancers shaking their booties on massive hydraulic floats. Overall, I’d say that São Paulo’s spectacle is less glittery and has a better sound system than Rio’s.
Having had the amazing experience of parading in the Sambadrome several years ago, I wanted to think that at least somewhere in the world, there is some respite from Donald Trump, the Mueller Report, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Adam Schiff but it turns out that “Resistance” blocks formed all over Brazil over the weekend, where celebrants in Workers’ Party T-shirts danced glumly in opposition to the “Fascism” of current Conservative President Bolsonaro and to protest the imprisonment of former President, Lula da Silva.