Rio's carnival parade present Chinese cultural icons
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Dragons, massive lotus flowers and other symbols of Chinese culture were met with cheering crowds at Rio de Janeiro's packed parade square Sambadrome as Brazil's top carnival celebration got underway over the weekend.
During the Sunday night parade of competing samba schools, Imperio Serrano, nine-time winner of the Rio carnival, wowed some 60,000 spectators with its colorful tribute to the 13th-century explorer Marco Polo and his travels through China.
The samba school's elaborately decorated floats, brought to life by 3,500 performers, featured dragon and lion dances, the Great Wall of China and giant lotus flowers, as well as contemporary Chinese-inspired characters such as Kung Fu Panda.
Imperio Serrano also paid homage to Chinese philosophy, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, and its culinary contributions.
The school's last allegorical float was dedicated to the Chinese New Year and this year's zodiac symbol, the dog, which represents loyalty.
Several schools dedicated their floats to serious social problems, from the persistence of slavery in Brazil to environmental conservation and a topic that hit particularly close to home, cutbacks in state funding of samba schools.
Schools also poked fun at top politicians, including President Michel Temer, and Rio's mayor Marcelo Crivella.
The second night of parades takes place Monday, and the winner will be announced Wednesday.
Rio's carnival celebrations officially kicked off on Friday. Millions of revelers took to the streets. In the city's traditional parade square Sambadrome, samba schools paraded from Friday to Monday night, which were broadcasted worldwide.[ Editor: zyq ]