Carnaval 2009

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 8            February 26, 2009

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The comparsas, the painting, the fun - a successful 2009 Carnaval!
The San Pedro RC Schoolcomparsas and...

...Ambergris Caye Elementary School participated all three days, and placed first and second (in the Junior Category) respectively.

Miss Flora’s Posse kept everyone entertained with their varied comparsas.

“Sin senos no hay paraiso” - always a hit with the spectators, tied with Miss Flora’s Posse for first place!

A unique tradition to the island and Belize, El Gran Carnaval de San Pedro has been one that has been passed down from generation to generation. Although, it seems that with time, some of these wonderful customs are slowly disappearing; many people are still striving to keep our traditions alive. Carnaval is celebrated annually, and is observed during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday (Miércoles de Ceniza) and the Lenten Season. It is a pagan celebration very similar to Mardi Gras, during which time people enjoy fun activities that come to a head on Fat Tuesday. Carnaval was basically divided into two activities - comparsas (street dancing) and painting.    

   During the event the centre of the town throngs with street dancers known as comparsas. Prizes are handed out to the best in categories for both adults and children. This may be testament to their dance talents, but amusement value is also high on the list.    

   During the three days, painters flood the street to paint each other, and this year was no different as hundreds of children and grown ups flocked the streets to participate. This tradition involves using a mixture of water paint and water or raw eggs, the goal being to paint as many people as you can. Fair warnings are usually given prior to the carnival, saying that if you don’t want to be painted, stay in your home.    

   On the last day of the carnaval the comparsa winners are announced. This year, taking home first prize was a tie, the first in history as ‘Flora’s Posse’ and ‘Sin Senos no hay Paraíso’ garnered 82 points and $875 each in cash prize. In the children’s category – the San Pedro Roman Catholic School took first place and a cash prize of $500 while second place was awarded to Ambergris Caye Elementary School along with a cash prize of $250.    

   Hundreds enjoyed Carnaval tradition that keeps our culture alive and unique. Long live the Carnaval in San Pedro and kudos to the people who work tirelessly to keep the tradition alive!
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