Dancers on stilts, bare-chested cowboys, Carmelite nuns and plenty of bare flesh have flooded Rio’s streets as revellers cranked up the volume at Brazil’s intoxicating carnival festival.
The carnival, which began on February 13 and continue through February 17, will take over the city with revelers from around the world filling city streets, the famed Sambódromo, and venues throughout Rio for parades, parties, and colorful, samba fueled pre-lenten celebrations.
This year's celebration will be a chance for Brazilians to forget the recent avalanche of bad news, from a stalling economy to rising crime to an ongoing corruption scandal at state-run oil giant Petrobras.
More than 450 street parties are slated to bring millions of people onto Rio streets, including some 970,000 tourists. The visitors are expected to inject around $780 million into the local economy.
Feathers and bikinis: Vila Isabel samba school’s drum queen Sabrina Sato participates in the annual carnival parade in Rio de Janeiro’s Sambadrome.
Encapsulating the mood of the carnival, a float from the Grande Rio samba school passes on during the festivities.
Participants from Grande Rio samba school all dressed up in bright colours dances by.
Famous Brazilian pop singer Claudia Leite glittering in her gold costume marches in the parade.
It’s a riot of colours and costumes as participants in various outfits amble on during the festivities.
Tennis stars Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer, who are scheduled to play in Brazil, join in the fun and dance during the carnival.
A dancer from the Salgueirol samba school looks mesmerizing in her black feathers and colourful bikini.
Elaborate floats pass on during the festivities. Some of the floats take over a year to make.
Amid the bright colours, this participant in dark makeup makes for an interesting, or should we say, a bit scary image.
This dancer shows off her glistening body and her moves during the carnival.
A reveller from the Viradouro samba school participates in the annual carnival.
A float of a mother holding her infant passes on during the carnival. Several other colourful floats made their way during the celebrations.
Dancers holding coloured umbrellas participate in the raucous festivities.
Most of the women at the celebrations were glittering in their tiny bikinis with elaborate featherwork and hedgears.
Six samba schools participated, with the Mangueira being one of the biggest-name samba schools parading Sunday.
Photographs: Sergio Moraes, Pilar Olivares, Ricardo Moraes/Reuters, Roberto Filho/Getty Images