Rio, world’s largest carnival, postponed for first time since 1912

The coronavirus pandemic has promoted the postponement of Rio de Janeiro Carnival for the first time in more than 100 years.

A scene from Rio Carnival (Photo:

The postponement comes as Brazil’s cases of the virus continue to soar with the South American country recording roughly 4.7 million positives and just under 140,000 deaths, according to the John Hopkins University virus tracker, since its first case was reported in February.

The city’s League of Samba Schools said the virus’ spread has made it impossible to safely have the event, which provides a source of income for many.

Revelers of Uniao da Ilha samba school perform during the first night of the carnival parade at Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on February 7, 2016. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA

“Carnival is a party upon which many humble workers depend. The samba schools are community institutions, and the parades are just one detail of all that,” Luiz Antonio Simas, a historian who specialises in Rio’s Carnival, said in an interview. “An entire cultural and productive chain was disrupted by COVID.”

Rio Carnival was last suspended in 1912 after the death of the foreign relations minister.

Some 2.1 million visitors travelled to the state and generated US$725 million in economic activity for this year’s celebrations in February.