Rio de Janeiro’s samba schools have begun putting on this year’s delayed Carnival parades, the first after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19-pandemic. The schools’ colorful floats and flamboyant dancers began entering the Sambadrome grounds late Friday to parade before tens of thousands of fans on the first evening of the two-night spectacle. Rio’s Sambadrome has been home to the parade since the 1980s, and is a symbol of Brazil’s Carnival festivities. During the pandemic, it was a shelter for more than 400 homeless people and also served as a vaccination station. Sao Paulo also kicked off its Carnival parade Friday evening. Both cities put off this year’s parades for two months due to concerns about the proliferation of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.