Brazilians are letting off steam during the first full day of Carnival after a difficult year that included a lackluster economy, a spiraling corruption investigation and increasing political polarization.

The holiday has long been considered a safety valve for social and political tensions. Some blocos, as carnival street parties are known, take on larger undertones. This year, for example, women's groups are highlighting sexual harassment and unwanted touching on Brazil's streets.

Other Brazilians see Carnival as a time to put those weighty issues aside.

On Saturday, reveler Dilene Monteiro attended a bloco in Sao Paulo in the hopes of forgetting the financial difficulties of the past year.

The 52-year-old psychologist said: "This is a moment to release all the energy of 2017, which wasn't great."