Rio de Janeiro – An unprecedented ceremony full of joy, music and color, in which King Momo was crowned and received the keys to the city of Rio de Janeirobegan this Friday the 2024 carnival festivities, in which Brazil The participation of some 49 million people is expected.
The traditional ceremony of handing over the keys to King Momo with which Rio de Janeiro opens its carnival, generally formal and in some years even relegated to oblivion, gained a new facet this year with the mayor’s decision Eduardo Paes to make it an official event on the calendar of the most emblematic city in Brazil.
This Friday’s event at the City Palace, one of the Mayor’s offices, was attended by even the Brazilian Minister of Tourism, Celso Sabinowhich considered the festivals officially open throughout Brazil, including those in other cities with famous carnivals, such as Salvador and Recife.
Sabino took advantage of the ceremony to announce that, based on the data collected in his portfolio, this year’s carnival will mobilize around 49 million people, a number 6.5% higher than in 2023 and which, including foreign tourists, constitutes a new record.
The parade that began the event was opened by a couple dancing on stilts and carrying a flag that highlighted Rio as the “capital of the G20,” since the city will host the summit of heads of state of the largest economies in November. world.
To increase its symbolism, the mayor’s office decided to include Momo’s coronation in the ceremony starting this year, which was generally done weeks before.
For this reason, the parade that mobilized fifty people with the most varied costumes, including gypsies and superheroes, was held in front of the throne.
King Momo, the carnival queen and the princesses arrived to the throne in open-top vintage cars, escorted by his court and by allegories to other popular festivals in Brazil, such as the ‘quadrilhas’ of the San Juan festivities or the ‘Boi Bumba’. ‘ from the Amazonian cities, and even from the Venice carnival.
”Today we publish an extraordinary decree in a special edition of the Official Gazette including the ceremony of handing over the keys to the city in the official calendar of events of Rio de Janeiro. From now on, no mayor will be able to ignore the ceremony,” the mayor said when explaining the news.
His decision was interpreted as a provocation to his predecessor and political rival, Marcello Crivela, an evangelical pastor who during his four years in office refused to hand over the keys to King Momo because he considered the festivals pagan.
The new ceremony featured the participation of the ‘battery’ (percussion orchestra) of the Imperatriz Leopoldinense samba school, the 2023 carnival champion, which was in charge of animating the party when the mayor opened the doors of the City Palace so that the guests could dance inside.
A few minutes later, and about 20 kilometers away, the Carmelite troupe began its parade along the slopes of the bucolic neighborhood of Santa Teresa, which attracted thousands of people eager to enjoy the carnival from the first minute.
The Carmelites, named in honor of the nuns of this order who supposedly escaped from the convent during carnival, was the first of the 450 blocos, as the troupes with orchestras that parade for free through the streets, of the Rio de Janeiro carnival are known.