The faces of Rio de Janeiro's Carnival
Rio de Janeiro - Tens of thousands of people are packing the streets of Brazil, reveling for five days in dancing, celebrating, pageantry, and dazzling costumes as the country’s annual carnival season continues this week.
Each year, local residents participate in the Carnival of Brazil, arguably the most famous holiday in the country. The celebrations start the Friday afternoon before Ash Wednesday and end at noon five days later. The religious holiday marks the first day of Lent, the 40-day period before Easter, for Roman Catholics and other Christians.
Attire and musical traditions vary from one region of Brazil to another. Much of the country stops for almost a week to take part in the festivities, which often extend into the nighttime.
In the capital, Rio de Janeiro, local residents and tourists endured pouring rain about an hour before the start of the all-night extravaganza on Saturday. The water was welcomed to some extent though, after the southeastern part of the country recently experienced the worst drought in 80 years.
Photographer Wayne Lawrence will be on scene for msnbc as things heat up in Brazil. This photo essay contains some mild nudity.