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In Paraty, Brazil - Hundreds of revelers wrestled, tackled each other and threw chunks of gunk while dancing to samba and reggaeton on Saturday at a Carnival beach party where clothes were optional but the mud was not.

The annual "Bloco da Lama", or "Mud Party", in the coastal town about a 4 hour drive from Rio de Janeiro got started when Alesandra Cristiana was the first person to jump into thick black mud in an area of mangroves the size of several soccer fields.

With the tropical sun blasting a 35C heat, dozens of onlookers then followed her lead, soon followed by a few hundred.

"I wanted to be the first to be cured by the mud this year," said Cristiana, who is from Rio. "When you are here, anything negative in your body just exits."

Like many mudbathers, Cristiana, now in her fifth year attending, claimed the sticky matter had medicinal qualities.

The messy party hearkens back to 1986, when according to local lore a few teenagers hiking in a mangrove forest smeared themselves with mud to combat mosquitoes. They then paraded through Paraty, a former Portuguese colonial town with picturesque white walls in the downtown area. A tradition was born.

These days, however, revelers no longer parade through the town, a practice that angered shopkeepers who watched their snowwhite walls get sullied with flying soil. Instead, the partygoers stick to the mangroves and adjoining beach.

Luiz Antonio Simas, a Carnival historian, said the mud party encapsulates how celebrations in small Brazilian cities reflect their origins. In Paraty, fishing and ocean culture dominate, so a beach party makes sense.

"Everybody has to change and let go during Carnival," said Diego Prestes, from Sao Paulo, as he applied the mud. "Having fun is the only thing that is important."

The original article can be found here: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201802/12/WS5a8143a4a3106e7dcc13c4dd.html

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