Sunday, February 17, 2013

La Carnaval and The Burning Man

La Carnaval here in the Deep South is celebrated in every town and village throughout the months of February and March. We have toodled along to the parades every year, watching the spectacle and the kids going wild having confetti battles. The sun was shining and the tramontane had died down this weekend , just in time for the parade through the streets of our village, Cabestany.
Sunny Carnival Parade in Cabestany
This is the first time they have had the parade in Cabestany and it seemed like the whole village was there. As we traipsed after the géants, we wondered, what the hell is La Carnaval about anyway? I asked some French friends and they didn't really know either "c'est la carnaval, quoi!"
So, what is the history of La Carnaval?
The word carnivale comes from two latin words : carne meaning flesh and vale meaning farewell ( merci wikipedia!). In the Catholic religion, it used to the the big blow out before lent began, your last chance to eat meat ( carnivore) and indulge in all kinds of naughty behaviour before you knuckled down and gave up joy for 40 long days and 40 long nights. Mardi Gras was what we call Pancake Tuesday, or Fat Tuesday when all the fatty stuff in the house was eaten up..
Now, here in France, there seems to be no specific date here for La Carnaval, and every town and village has their own parade on a different weekend during February and March. The kids get dressed up, there is much singing and dancing and parading about.
Monsieur La Carnaval... like a lamb to the slaughter
They also have their very own burning man ... in a solemn ceremony , at the end of the parade, the effigy called Monsieur Carnaval is burnt to a cinder - this represents burning all the excesses and sins of the carnival itself, or burning the evil spirits...
The boys watch Mr La Carnaval go up in smoke
If you really want to experience a Rio Type Mardi Gras, your best bet is to head South to Spain where adults and children get really into the spirit of it, dressing up and partying hard.
Sitges, just 35kms south of Barcelona, hosts one of the biggest and wildest carnivals in the world, partying like crazy for at least a week. See here for more details...
Et voilà, c'est ça La Carnaval!

1 comment:

  1. In Poland is the same thing with exception that they sink woman as a symbol of kicking out the winter:P


You may also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...