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Last Updated: Monday February 15 2010 13:34 GMT

In pics: Rio de Janeiro Carnival 2010

Mayor of Rio de Janiero opening the carnival

The Rio Carnival happens once a year and it's a massive party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The mayor opens the festival with an enormous key.

Revellers in the Rio de Janiero carnival

Loads of the carnival-goers dress up in fancy dress.

Float in Rio de Janiero carnival

The first Rio Carnival was way back in 1723, and in modern times the floats are legendary.

Dancer in Rio de Janiero carnival

One of the most important parts of the carnival is dancing. People dance on floats, through the streets and into the early hours of the morning, wearing spectacular costumes.

Revellers in the Rio de Janiero carnival

The main carnival takes place in the Sambadrome, but there are loads of street festivals throughout the city.

Dancer in Rio de Janiero carnival

Music keeps the carnival going throughout the weekend, and keeps the dancers dancing.

The carnival from above

The streets get packed with people wanting to experience one of the biggest parties in the world.

Dancer in Rio de Janiero carnival

The purpose of carnival is for samba schools to compete with fellow rival schools, and there is a competition at the end of the whole festival. Samba is a type of Latin American dancing.

Madonna at the carnival

Madonna turned up to party with her daughter, Lourdes.

Dancer in Rio de Janiero carnival

Bruna Bruno who's part of the Uniao da Ilha samba school, dances during carnival parade at the Sambadrome.

Float in Rio de Janiero carnival

The Galo da Madrugada is considered to be the biggest street band in the world, with more than two million followers.

Float in Rio de Janiero carnival

With the combination of the parade, the balls, and the street carnivals, Rio's carnival is often called the greatest show on Earth.