RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb. 28 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of revelers converged here Friday as the Brazilian city kicked off the Rio Carnival 2014 celebrations.
At the inauguration, Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes handed the keys to the city to King Momo, the folkloric character who presides over the five-day festivities.
The extravaganza will officially end on Ash Wednesday, when the keys will be returned to the mayor.
The Carnival, an annual pre-Lent blowout with four days of parading and street parties, is one of Brazil's biggest revenue earners.
Tourism officials in Rio have expected the event to attract around 920,000 tourists this year and generate 950 million U.S. dollars for the seaside city.
Similar celebrations are taking place at the same time in other Brazilian cities such as Sao Paulo and Recife.