This year has been completely unprecedented in the amount of closures and delays to major concerts, events, and festivities. Major conventions the world around have either been completely cancelled or postponed down the road to 2021, or even 2022. On top of this, many countries have closed many of their tourist spots and other noteworthy attractions in an attempt to deter early travelers and to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. And now, the latest casualty of COVID-19 is Rio de
Janeiro’s world famous Carnival.
Their Carnival typically happens in February, as a five day event that precedes Lent. Many come for the 12 hours of floats, dancing, parades, parties, and food. Now, on top of a year that has seen sports and festivities cancelled, the absolute topper is that Rio de Janeiro has postponed their Carnival for the 2021 season. What does this mean for prospective revelers?
Don’t cry for Carnival
The Samba Schools (the schools responsible for the floats that parade down the main street, and draw in crowds of over 80,000 people) were forced to close down earlier in the year because of the Coronavirus. As of today, the government has officially postponed that main attraction.
The postponement of Carnival is something that has not happened in over 100 years. Indeed, the cancelling of this festival is nearly unprecedented, and the only other time the festival was cancelled was in 1912, due to the death of a significant foreign minister for the country. However, given the Coronavirus’s impact earlier in 2020, and seeing countries like Germany cancelling Oktoberfest, something like this was not completely unexpected.
Carnival to continue on?
While the main parade and display from the Samba Schools have been postponed, there is still the possibility for this Carnival to take on more of a local flavor. The city has yet to make any definitive call about whether they can go on or not. In addition to the large parade, there are blocos, small festivities held along small streets and neighborhoods. While some of these have already been preemptively cancelled, some of them are slated to still happen.
What this means for travelers is that they can expect the festivities, if any, to be a much more local affair. More likely than not, they’ll be tucked away in side streets and down alleys. It is very likely that any tourists who insist on making a return trip to Rio will be faced with a less festive time, not to mention the safety procedures that are in place for everyone else. This year, the celebration — if it happens at all — will be only a shadow of its former splendor.