Carnival starts on Sunday February 22nd and concludes on Tuesday evening the 24th.
The older photo above with many children was a famous Comparza of Los Inditos 1974, one of the many dances that Dona Vilma Arceo used to teach to keep the tradition alive.
The original organizers of CARNAVAL were the great Don Severo Guerrero,Sr. La Ensenada, Dona Ramona Varela, Rogelio Alamilla a.k.a. Chehel, Carlos Marin Sr. a.k.a. Don Carlin, Señor Dolito, Don Alfredo Alamilla a.k.a Don Fedo, Señor Cardenez a.k.a Benmath, Don Nicholas Varela, Dona Charla Rivero, and Señora Vilma Arceo to name a few.
Comparzas go through town dancing and collecting money from those willing to donate to a charitable cause. In 1994, a group called "Los Gringas de Belice" collected over $800 to start the funding for the "Lights of Ann Reilly." Street lights were erected along dark sections of the beach utilizing these funds and other donations.
Part of the celebration of carnival is the painting of participants. Angel Nuñez, in his column "Twenty Five Years Ago" wrote an article entitled "Carnival - An Island Tradition." He wrote "...people were disguised by painting themselves for these comparsas. Caribs were black, Indians were red, and Cubans wore white clothing and handkerchiefs around their necks. What about those not dancing in the comparsas? Well, some painted themselves simply for the fun of it. Eventually the dancers took to the game of painting each other. Anything that painted and was reasonable was used - flour, powder, blue, lipstick, and the black stuff that accumulated on the cooking pots and pans. All this was fine, but usually one wanted revenge once he was painted by someone else. To take an example, if you painted me with flour, I would return you the favour with lipstick. Understandably, this got worse and today we see the use of water paint, cocoa, shaving cream, raw eggs, rotten tomatoes and even spray and oil paints. It has reached a point where hurt and not fun is the main part..."
This year, with Carnival '98, the tradition continues...on Sunday, February 22, 1998 with a parade around town and culminating in cultural presentations with special invited guests from Chetumal, Quintana Roo through the Ballet Folklorico Technologico dancers, Lichi's Box, Bombastic Culture and San Pedro High School Band. The following days, February 23 and 24 will be enthusiastic with Comparzas around town. All are invited to participate. Play it safe, with respect and responsibility.
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