These days we are enjoying the Carnival (Carnaval, en español) season all over the world, mainly in countries that follow the Christian tradition. Carnival comes 40 days before Easter (Pascua)and takes place during the three days before Ash Wednesday (Miércoles de ceniza). More or less all countries respect the calendar, but traditions and celebrations are very different across the globe. Let’s have a look.
Video by VICOCOL BOLIVIA
Carnival in Bolivia reveals a syncretism between Pagan and Christian beliefs. Colorful costumes, folklore music and dances and parades are not as seen as, for example, those from Brazil. However, Carnival is a very important tradition in Bolivia including Diabladas, a procession of devils (diablos)that honour Mother Earth and bring prosperity to the community.
Video by DANIEL GUERRERO
Colombia celebrates Carnaval de blancos y negros (Black and White Carnival) at least a month before the rest of the world. This celebration is from pre-Columbian times, and it was forbidden during the time of the colony. This is an Andean indigenous tradition. The mixture with Spanish and African elements of celebration created this festivity, that has been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Humanity by the UNESCO.
Video by Sightseer.TV – Buenos Aires
Renowned is also the Montevideo Carnival, which is the longest Carnival in the world (it lasts 40 days).
This carnival has two main aspects, which are not antagonistic but complementary: las murgas or street choirs, of Spanish origin, whose lyrics are rich in humor and social and political satire and played an important socio-cultural role during the dictatorship (1973-1984), and candombe, of black African origin, which recreates the African origins of the slaves during the colonial era, with its costumes, songs and dances, cultures and religions.
This is a video of the song “Una canción a Montevideo”, written and interpreted by Mauricio Ubal, which combines both murgas and candombe. We hope you enjoy it and maybe celebrate a bit differently this year! ¡Feliz carnaval!