Sao Paulo: The greatest show on the earth, the FIFA World Cup carnival, began with a coruscating opening ceremony, which encapsulated the colour, culture and nature of Brazil, hosting the big football party first time since 1950.
The anti-tournament protests continued even hours before the ceremony but the din was lost when thousands of football lovers from across the world thronged the Corinthians Arena and watched the spectacle unfold with invigorating enthusiasm.
However, a few stands were still empty when the 30-minute ceremony began.
A giant LED ball, placed at the centre of the stadium, displayed the welcome message in different languages, and hundreds of artists started to trickle in.
Dressed as trees, plants and flowers, the artists represented the nature of the country with background music, which had no drum tunes as yet.
Then on show was the diversity of the Brazilian people, their dance and martial arts, developed by the slaves in the 16th century for self defence.
It was followed by what Brazil is synonymous with:, game of Football. Several people with football as headgear came in and kids dressed as referees came to the pitch and depicted conduct of a match.
Immediately after this, the Brazilian flag was paraded onto the pitch.