On a "bridge" Monday, many people from Luanda will certainly have taken advantage of the holiday to spend the long weekend away from the capital and not see themselves masked in the street.
Next to the bay of Luanda, in Nova Marginal, the place chosen for the parade, only the tribunes, with paid access or reserved for members of the Angolan executive and other individuals, were filled this Monday afternoon.
Despite some food and drink stalls, there was a lack of popular entertainment and few revelers circulated around the outer enclosure or positioned themselves next to the railings, uninterested in the rhythm and drumming that the carnival groups, vying for the first prize, took to Nova Marginal.
Among the spectators in the tribunes were distinguished figures, such as the President of the Republic João Lourenço and the first lady, Ana Dias Lourenço, as well as the governor of Luanda and the Minister of Culture, and anonymous enthusiasts such as the Australian Rowan, who was watching the parade just one day after arriving in Angola, the country where it is for the first time.
"This is fantastic, the music is so contagious, it's like nothing I've ever seen", says the traveler and tourist entrepreneur who brought with him a group of more than two dozen foreigners, comparing the one in Luanda with other Carnivals around the world.
"It's more special here, it's unique, it's really worth seeing" guaranteed the Australian.
"This is the biggest Carnival celebration in Africa, which is a big continent with many countries, and that makes it very special," he added.
Rowan, who runs a travel agency, told Lusa that he prefers to bring his clients to unique and less touristy places, among which Angola fits perfectly. And he hopes to explore much more of the country during the almost two weeks he will spend with his group in Angola, he added.
Adão Cumba is also in one of the tribunes watching, for the first time, Carnival and is pleased.
"I'm enjoying the atmosphere, the public, what I'm watching. Carnival is a party for everyone, it's a lot of entertainment", said the young man, rehearsing some dance steps for his friends.
Joana António is accompanied by two friends, she is a Carnival fan and a regular spectator of the parade.
"It's very different, we dance, we jump, it's joy" she says, when asked what differentiates this from other Carnivals celebrated all over the world.
And she promises that she will still "jump, and a lot" after the parade.
Each group takes on different dance styles – semba, kazucuta, cabecinha are some of the ones they will show – and sing mostly in Kimbundu, expressing their cultural roots.
As for the jury, in addition to Song and Choreography, it will have to evaluate Allegory, Costume, Court and Support Phalanx, to decide who will be this year's champion of class A (adults).
The parade started at 5 pm, but only ended at night, after the passage of the 13 groups: União Twabixila, União Sagrada Esperança, União Kiela, União Povo da Quiçama, União Njinga Mbande, União Mundo da Ilha, União Recreativo Kilamba, União Etu Mudietu , União 10 de Novembro, União 54, União Jovens da Cacimba, União Amazonas do Prenda, União Giza.