Rio de Janeiro, Feb 4 (IANS/EFE) Tens of thousands of residents and tourists turned out this weekend in Rio de Janeiro for the Brazilian city's pre-Carnival street parties.
The high temperatures and blazing sun only added to the frenetic feel of Saturday's celebration, with events organized by nearly 60 of the neighbourhood groups, or "blocos", that compete to see who can put on the best show.
The most popular events were those organized by traditional groups, such as Simpatia e Quase Amor, which drew tens of thousands of people to Ipanema, and Ceu na Terra, whose parties are considered some of the most colorful during Carnival.
People dressed as pirates, police officers, devils, brides, widows and a Roman who had given himself over to Bachus gave an irreverent tone to the Ceu na Terra party.
Ceu na Terra dedicated its party, which drew a younger crowd, to Yemanja, a sea deity in various African religions.
Simpatia e Quase Amor, which drew tens of thousands of people to Ipanema, also dedicated its party to Yemanja, as did organizers of events in Salvador, the capital of Bahia.
The 2013 Carnival starts Friday and ends Feb 12.