Town Council mandates changes for Carnaval 2013
The dates for Carnaval 2013 have been set and the rules have been changed. From February 8th through February 13th, the San Pedro Carnaval will see a celebration focused on tradition as opposed to the free-for-all painting and debauchery that has evolved to over the years. While some residents are arguing that the changes are for the better, there is also opposition from those who want to keep carnaval the way it has been over the recent years.
As the island develops and the population has grown, the celebration of carnaval has been met with mixed emotions. For many, carnaval is a time for friends to gather and join in a tradition that has been passed down from generation to generation on the island. Over the years however, some revelers have taken it upon themselves to intentionally deface public and private property and in some instances, cause bodily harm to other individuals. The final night of carnaval was often considered a version of “Fat Tuesday”, with a “free-for-all” attitude. Many believe this night has evolved into a more sinister affair, with bullying, physical harm and vandalism and leaving the true meaning of carnival behind.
This year, under the organization of the San Pedro Town Council’s Culture Committee, the traditions are getting a makeover. On Tuesday, January 22nd the committee held its final meeting to cement the schedule of activities for 2013′s carnaval celebrations. 2013 will see carnaval go from a three day celebration to six days, with activities scheduled daily. Organizers hope that the new format for carnaval will prove to be more appealing to both residents and visitors alike, and eventually serve as yet another selling point for tourism on the island.
Below is the new schedule
Friday February 8th: Noche de Enmascarados
An opening ceremony and dance show that includes historical/traditional comparsas and live entertainment. This all takes place at the Central Park starting at 7PM.
Saturday February 9th: Sabado de Bando Ball
A masquerade bazaar will take place at the Angel Nuñez Auditorium with live music and entertainment starting at 7PM. This is also where the selection of this year’s Carnaval Queen and King will be chosen by a panel of judges.
Sunday, February 10th through Tuesday, February 12th:
Participants and onlookers get to enjoy the variety of colorful and creative carnaval comparsas as they dance through Pescador Drive and Barrier Reef Drive. The comparsa activity ends at the Central Park where entertainment with singing, dancing and musical renditions will be provided. Throughout these days, painting will be allowed on the beach from Boca del Rio Park to Wet Willy’s. Painters as usual, are asked to respect each other as well as private and public properties.
At 7PM on Tuesday, February 12th the winners of the 2013 carnaval comparsas will be announced at Central Park.
On Ash Wednesday, February13th, the traditional burning of Juan Carnaval will be observed at Central Park, with entertainment starting at 7PM.
There are also some changes to the painting rules. As stated before, the confined zone for painting is on the beach area from Boca Del Rio Park to near Wet Willy’s dock, from 1PM to 9PM on the dates specified above. Items to be used for painting include: body powder, face powder, lipsticks, cosmetics, ashes and water based paints. The San Pedro Town Council strongly discourages the use of any oil, exterior or enamel based paints. Any paint suspected to be or is oil based, enamel or exterior wall paint will be confiscated by police. No painting will be allowed outside the confined zone. Anyone caught painting outside of the designated area will be arrested and charged. The mayor further advises that there will be strict police presence to ensure adherence to the rules. Additional police officers will be brought in from mainland Belize to secure a safe, orderly Carnival 2013.
San Pedro Sun