The Brazil Carnival 2023 was held from February 15 to 25, 2023 in the capital city, Rio de Janeiro after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Carnival is usually celebrated five days preceding Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent in the Catholic calendar. At the heart of the Carnival is the samba, which is the perfect illustration of the Afro-European blend that defines Brazilian culture.
Christian Lens, an online news media reports;’ in 2023, Brazil’s annual Carnival celebrations took a controversial turn as a group of revelers took to the streets to participate in what they called the “Satan Carnival’. The event, which was held in the city of Rio de Janeiro, featured participants dressed in black and red costumes, with many wearing devil horns and carrying pitchforks. Some revelers even wore masks with satanic symbols, such as inverted crosses’.
The Carnival has drawn criticisms from many religious groups and individuals all over the world who condemned the event as offensive and sacrilegious Many have also expressed shock and anger at the performances, saying it was distasteful and contentious.
According to Christian Lens; ‘Despite the backlash, the Satan Carnival participants continued their march through the streets of Rio de Janeiro, accompanied by loud music and dancing. The atmosphere was chaotic and frenzied, with many onlookers unsure of what to make of the spectacle before them.
The organizers of the Satan Carnival defended their event as a celebration of individual freedom and creativity. They argued that they had the right to express themselves and their beliefs, even if others found them controversial or offensive.’
Between 23 February and 5 March, Brazil was hit by natural disaster. The Guardian, reported that ‘massive downpours have caused landslides and flooding in coastal towns of Brazil’s richest state, which has so far been hit by more than 600mm (23.6 inches) of rain, the highest cumulative figure ever in the country’.
‘The city of São Sebastiao, located about 200km (124.3 miles) from São Paulo, bore the brunt of the human toll, with 47 of the reported deaths. But nearby towns such as Ilhabela, Caraguatatuba, Bertioga and Ubatuba were also heavily affected.’
Floodlist reported that the volume and intensity of the rain caused rivers to break their banks, flooding wide areas of Bandeirantes, north of Parana. Around 250 homes were damaged and over 700 people were displaced. Roads are impassable and schools have been closed. Full damage assessments are yet to be completed.
More than 500 workers had searched for victims, cleared roads and tried to reconnect isolated communities. However, search was hampered by torrential rain, which had displaced hundreds of people and trapped an undetermined number of tourists who had travelled for the carnival.
We can see footages of roads being cut offf by landslides and houses washed away by floods. There were houses flooded with only roofs visible, and people using small boats to carry items and people to higher ground. According to a local news outlet, the disaster also interrupted operations at Santos, Latin America’s busiest container port, with wind gusts exceeding 34mph (55km/h) and waves over 1 metre high on Saturday, 18 February.
The Brazilian president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, said:’the disaster underlined the need to stop building homes in areas at risk of landslides and major floods. He said; “Sometimes nature takes us by surprise, but sometimes we also tempt nature. I think it’s important that neither happens.”
Many are puzzled how Brazil, a country in the global south, grappling with abject poverty could have invested heavily in such an obscene event, when the funds could have been used to provide amenities for the poor.
Brazil is a country with a large Catholic community. Of tits 214 million population, about 123million (65%) are Catholics. The biggest image of Jesus Christ, the iconic Christ the Redeemer statute, which measures 98 feet, towers above the port city of Rio de Janeiro, same city where the carnival was held.