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Recession Cancels Small-Town Carnaval Celebrations in Brazil

LADB Article ID: 80247
Category/Department: Brazil
Date: 2017-03-24
By: Gregory Scruggs

Brazilian Carnaval was less festive this year, as a deepening economic crisis dampened celebrations. Even as tourism numbers remained strong in the country’s major Carnaval destinations like Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador, dozens of small-town Carnaval celebrations were canceled by officials leery of spending public funds at a time of austerity. The annual celebration, which took place in the weeks leading up to and including the final Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 27 and 28, before Ash Wednesday and the Catholic observance of Lent, also led to an online rumor that President Michel Temer sought to cancel Carnaval celebrations for the next 20 years as a budget-saving measure. As a national holiday, work and schools are closed during the final two days of Carnaval, prompting many smaller municipalities to host public celebrations. They may include samba performances, live music, street festivals, and other festivities that can incur costs for local government with overtime pay, portable toilets, and rental equipment. Well over 100 municipalities across Brazil opted to forgo publicly sponsored events this year, citing a lack of funds as the country plunges deeper into recession.

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