For a week before the parade there were smaller local events in many towns with street entertainment in the centre of Funchal and people wandering around in costumes of various kinds, as well as numerous community events in public squares and parks.
The sound and beat of the samba was everywhere, either live from colourful groups of musicians, or recorded and played through speakers lodged in trees, while people danced or jigged along to it, grins on their faces. But more of that in another post.
Carnival is a big event in Madeira, something not celebrated in Scotland. In fact, we didn’t even realise there would be celebrations during our stay there. From the balcony of our apartment in the city centre we could watch people making their way to the boulevard used for the parade, one side of which was closed to traffic several hours before the start of the event, with metal barriers put in place by an expert team of workers.
Coloured lights had been strung through the numerous trees lining the street and bordering the promenade. Crowds increased, a few police wandered around and chatted with people. The crime rate in Madeira is very low so there would have been no expectation of trouble of any kind.
We went out to try and find a spot from where we could view the proceedings, but knew that photographs would be difficult what with the darkness, the coloured lights, the swirling and dancing, flouncing and bouncing of the participants on floats and on the street, and the way the lights sparkled off their costumes, the heads of folk taller than me standing in my way, and the constant movement of people to get a better view for themselves and their children, hoisted into arms or onto shoulders.
But maybe from a small selection of photos you’ll get an idea of the colour, glitter and liveliness of this amazing parade.