Carnaval 2007 – a dying tradition?

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 8            February 22, 2007

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Colors, comical comparsas (ethnic street dancing) and cheerful celebrations were the key ingre dients of El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro. Sadly, the tradition has seemed to have taken residency at the Intensive Care Unit, as not many people engaged in what once was a very big celebration. To kick things off, Carnaval 2007 came alive as scores of people congregated at the Old Football Field to enjoy the hottest band of South East Mexico – Super Track. Singing along, dancing to the beat, and thunderous applause were the order of the night sponsored by The Reef Radio.

    As expected, the tradition continued as numerous groups of young children emerged from different corners and side-streets armed with tins of water-based paint and raw eggs. Their quest – to conquer the rest of the participants by painting them. All three days, children screamed with joy and executed Matrix maneuvers to avoid getting painted or splattered with the raw eggs.

    Later in the afternoons the festive, more traditional side of this celebration commenced with the popular and ever-comical comparsas. Mrs. Flora Ancona’s “posse” took center street depicting various ethnic groups and dancing the newest beats. The first day they were fishermen, second day the ethnicity of the Mennonites shone brightly and the final day was the popular Spanish soap opera La fea mas bella. Without a doubt Mrs. Ancona’s “posse” took first place and $1,500.

    The Barbies’ (local men dressed in drag) have entertained crowds for years. This year was no exception and took second place and a cash prize of $1,000. Not getting left behind were the Boy’s Scouts who with their enthusiasm, great beats, and their “show” ability, walked away with $500.

    On Ash Wednesday, San Pedro residents saw the end of Carnaval 2007 with the revival of the burning of Don Juan Carnaval held at the Old Football Field. Thumbs up to the people who enjoyed Carnaval 2007 in San Pedro – a tradition that keeps our culture alive and unique.
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