Signs that the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to the cancellation or postponement of many events across the world this year, is set to have a dramatic impact on 2021’s festivals have intensified with the announcement that next year’s Rio Carnival is postponed.
The Rio Carnival is the biggest of its type in the world and draws millions of people each year to the Brazillian city. It was slated to be held in February 2021.
2021 Rio Carnival is Postponed
“It’s increasingly difficult to have Carnival without a vaccine. There is no way to have Carnival without safety,” announced Jorge Castaneiro, the head of the Independent League of Samba Schools of Rio de Janeiro (LIESA).
Brazil curently has suffered almost 140,000 deaths from the coronavirus, placing it second behind the USA in terms of deaths from COVID-19, according to John Hopkins University.
The organisers have decided that holding an event where so many people are due to flock together was an unacceptable risk, especially with its enormous parades and all-night parties.
Castaneiro speculated that the 2021 Rio Carnival might be held after April if conditions imporove.
The Rio Carnival celebrations are a mix of Portuguese and African traditions. It uesd to mark the last time to eat freely before entering the 40 days of Lent. Nowadays, the party focuses on the parades of the 200+ samba schools at the Sambadrome. They bring about 30,000 participants, and there are about 90,000 seats to see the show, which carries on to dawn.
Is the 2021 Carnival Season Cancelled?
The news that the Rio Carnival is postponed casts in doubt the whole of the 2021 Carnival Season.
With COVID-19 numbers rising across Europe, where many of the carnivals are held, it seems likely that organisers will follow the lead of the Rio Carnival and cancel events unless a vaccine is discovered, or numbers start to drop.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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