Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Fat Tuesday.....Island Style

Carnaval, Fat Tuesday, Carnivale, Mardi Gras. Whatever you call it where you are from, it is a pagan holiday held in places all over the world the day before Ash Wednesday, when lent begins. Originally started as a day to "blow out" or have your last wild fling prior to the beginning of Lent, San Pedro is one of the remaining places in Belize where it is celebrated every year.

The adults do most of their celebrating by performing comparsas, where various upstanding members of the community dress in extravagant costumes, roaming through town performing self-written skits that include song and dance. These are a real treat, and we have seen everything from men dressed in drag, to adults dressed as babies, wearing nothing but diapers and huge pacifers, to last night's wedding party comparsa.

The children spend the night with their friends on the beach, painting each other with all colors of paint, and adorning their best buddies with rotten eggs. Last night was no exception!

Before the festivities began, we took a trip down to the "clubhouse" to watch the kids getting ready to go into town...

This little beauty has no idea this is a horseshoe is her personal sandbox

Table climbing

On our way down Front Street, we were bombarded by what appeared to be a riot, but was actually two groups of kids attacking one another.

Gearing up on the beach, headed to town

Businesses in the "paint zone" drape tarps to save their walls

A couple of fine specimens

Planning their attacks

Little ghost boy getting in on the fun

Swarms of kids

This little girl takes it all in...maybe next year sweetie!

Guillermo and his buddies

Making the scary trip from street to beach

These kids are plotting

Sometimes you need to "rinse" off

Egg in hand, she hides behind the tree

Armed with paint, these two plan their next move

Walking closer to the action

I see scheming going on here

A tourist inspects her paint job

They love the picture of themselves!!

Faith has just a little paint here...

Even the dog got painted

Heads full of baby oil and bandanas

With mom and dad, all ready to get painted

They were gentle for her first layer

Guess who?

Going back for more

The wedding comparsas

Faith bathes in the Sea before the golf cart ride home

All cleaned up....well, sort of

More wedding comparsa

These painted adults watch from the safety of their cart


RC school had a comparsa as well

This is a super fun holiday in San Pedro, and if you tell the kids you don't want to be painted, they won't paint you. Or, you may have to give them the hairy eyeball, or the Scary Mom look.......but it's soooo much fun to watch!!!


Carbunkle Trumpet said...

One of these days we are going to make Carnival it looks so much better than the one down in NOLA!

Snook said...

Great pics, looks like a blast- where's the pics of you two all painted up???

Changes in Latitudes said...

We do not get painted!!!! These kids will use whatever paint they can find, meaning.....enamel ... hard to get off.....I just give em the hairy far, so good!

Mikeywaz said...

Great photos - and background info on the San Pedro traditions. I hope we make it back for another Carnaval soon!

Anonymous said...

CBT - I'm in if you are 2010! And Cindy can show us how to perfect the hairy eyeball, if needed