Rio de Janeiro has officially kicked off Brazil’s biggest and most awaited festival. It’s Carnival time, and from now until next Wednesday, a king and his court will symbolically lead the city. CGTN’s Lucrecia Franco reports from Rio.
Rio’s Carnival is already in full swing in Rio de Janeiro, with King Momo , his queen and princess presiding. And this year’s King of Carnivals is no stranger to the city’s biggest party.
Milton Junior, a 38 year old bank clerk, was elected last year to assume the role of Momo, named after Momus , the Greek god of mockery, for the sixth time.
With his colorful costume, crown, and sash, he needs to attend dozens of samba events and has even learned a few words in English. “Welcome to Rio, welcome to the best Carnival in the world”, he says whenever he is being filmed by foreign TV crews.
The carnival royals are chosen every year for their samba skills, good humor and especially for the extra energy they need to make it through an exhausting party schedule.
“It is great but not an easy job, but I love it and it’s an honor,” says his queen, Jessica Maia, before they take the stage at the headquarters of one of Rio’s Samba schools.
At his home in the suburb of Madureira, Milton Junior, has to fight fatigue with a healthy breakfast to face Rio’s marathon revelry. But he is so proud of his role that he keeps a collection of sequin shirts and crowns from previous carnivals.
“Carnival is that time of the year when we all forget our problems, even if it’s just for a moment. For me, being part of it, is magic, to dance and parade and bring joy,” he said. “It’s fantastic.”
Although King Momo’s reign ends when Carnival is over, Milton Junior says he dreams about being a full time Carnival king – and has no plans of stopping.