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Performers from the Unidos da Vila Isabel samba school parade during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb.20, 2012. Millions watched the sequin-clad samba dancers at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Carnival parade. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Performers from the Unidos da Vila Isabel samba school parade during carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Feb.20, 2012. Millions watched the sequin-clad samba dancers at Rio de Janeiro's iconic Carnival parade. (AP Photo/Victor R. Caivano)

Rio Carnival

January 1, 1970

With a burst of fireworks and a thumping drum beat, Carnival festivities kicked off in Rio de Janeiro on Feb. 17.