Covid-19 has also caused the cancellation of carnival celebrations across the Atlantic. Samba schools, dances and blocks – which have gained great popularity in recent years thanks to the increase in Brazilian immigration – will not be held in Portugal this year due to the worsening pandemic.
After a month of January with a general increase in new cases and deaths, the pandemic is already showing signs of decelerating in the country. Even so, the general lockdown – and its restrictions on travel and settlements – is expected to remain until mid-March.
Along with this, the mummies festivities also fell victim to SARS-CoV-2. Even before the government announced the restrictions, several organizers of samba blocks and schools had voluntarily announced the cancellation of the festivities.
This was the case with the Blocos de Lisboa association, which anticipated the official bans.
“Carnival is an expression that values life, love and respect for others, so it only makes sense to do so when it is safe for the people,” the group said in a note.
The organization calls on revelers to stay at home, but also draws attention to the need for greater support from the Portuguese government in the cultural sector.
Responsible for Bué Tolo, who took more than 2,000 people to the streets of the Portuguese capital in 2020, Rio de Janeiro Leonardo Mesquita says that the blocs were experiencing a moment of growth in the country, and that there was an attempt organization of the final integration of the parades between the official events of the city.
“The Lisbon street carnival movement is only increasing, even as more and more Brazilians are arriving here. Before there were 2 or 3 blocks, today there are already 11 ”, he enumerates.
“The idea is to always bring joy to everyone, with responsibility. For this reason, we are also creating a League of Blocks, so that we can be recognized as a cultural event and enter the official calendar of the city, ”he adds.
Traditional in various regions of the country, samba schools – inspired by Brazilian originals – will not organize parades either.
In the case of associations in the Center region, the decision was taken in September of last year. As a result, the samba schools of Ovar, Estarreja, Torres Vedras, Figueira da Foz and Mealhada will not be released this year.
To compensate for the absence, some associations are promoting events online.
Carnival on Madeira Island | Photo: Francisco Correia / Visit Madeira
In the Madeira archipelago, which has Portugal’s most famous carnival, the parade of samba schools has also been canceled.
In an attempt to avoid clandestine settlements, the regional government has set a curfew from 6 p.m. during carnival week.
Unlike Brazil, Carnival in Portuguese lands is not a public holiday, but it was customary for the government and some businesses to be tolerant of time on Tuesday. This year, however, the rule is not to facilitate.
For the first time since taking office in 2015, Prime Minister António Costa (Socialist Party) will not tolerate the time of public officials on this date. Schools are also expected to follow the normal class schedule, although teaching currently takes place at a distance.