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What crisis? Partying Portuguese pirates do Carnaval anyway

February 21, 2012 |  1:47 pm

Carnaval revelers in Ovar, Portugal.
Portuguese officials tried to stop Carnaval revelers from taking the day off Tuesday, saying it was a time to sacrifice. But as these partying pirates show, many Portuguese partook in festivities anyway.

Every day on WorldNow we highlight a remarkable shot from around the world. Today our photo comes from Ovar, Portugal, where men dressed as pirates make a toast during the Carnaval parade.

Like much of Europe, Portugal has been under pressure to cut costs, undergoing austere measures to keep itself financially afloat. The country got a $103-billion international bailout last year, saving it from bankruptcy.

Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coehlo had urged the Portuguese to stay at work during the festival.

"This isn't a normal year, it's an important year of national emergency,” Passos Coelho said when he refused to grant the usual day off for Carnaval, the Associated Press reported.

But the Portuguese still poured into the streets for the colorful parades that mark the festival. Portuguese media estimated more than half of workers in the capital of Lisbon stayed home.

Hungry for more from Carnaval? The Times recently explored what the festival is like in northeast Brazil and how it differs from the wild celebrations that Rio de Janeiro is known for:

"Samba? No, that's the least traditional thing to have in our Carnaval," said Jorge Diogo Souza Costa, a 24-year-old student from Recife. "All that elaborate spectacle, with women exposing themselves, that's for the cameras in Rio. We don't do that stuff around here."


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Photo: Revelers take to the street Tuesday during a Carnaval parade in Ovar, Portugal. Credit: Estela Silva / European Pressphoto Agency