Carnaval Mazatlan – 2015

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Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico

When someone mentions Carnival, I think of the pre-Lenten celebration in Rio de Janeiro. The celebration can be traced back to ancient times. Eventually the Catholic Church adapted the celebration leading to Ash Wednesday, after which, the penitent Catholic could spend 40 days in prayer and sacrifice.

Rio, however, doesn’t have a monopoly on the celebration of Carnival. Coincidently our trip to Mazatlan began as Carnaval Mazatlan 2015 was in the midst of its six-day run. During those six days, fireworks, parades and events celebrating the holidays attract thousands of people to the city known as “the pearl of the Pacific”. Since its official beginnings in 1898, Carnaval Mazatlan has grown to the world’s third largest carnival celebration in the world.

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In the opening photo, a cotton candy vendor obscured the view of some of the performers. Here’s a close-up of what you missed.

Our trip to Mexico was not meant to be a celebration of Carnaval Mazatlan, however that would be no excuse for us to ignore the celebration altogether. Fireworks displays were visible from our location on some evenings and there were two major parades proceeding along the highway that parallels the beach. The parades are family friendly. There were no beads or bare boobies in sight.

While we awaited the start of the parade, a Transformer entertained the crowd and posed for photos with children.

While we awaited the start of the parade, a Transformer entertained the crowd and posed for photos with children.

On Fat Tuesday, we headed toward the parade hoping to catch a good viewing position. Well it turned out we were misinformed about the start time and parade route. We flagged down a pulmonia, the unique micro-taxi that is a Mazatlan exclusive. The driver informed us that the parade was well underway, but he offered to drive us to the parade termination point. Despite the traffic, we arrived in plenty of time to see the beginning of the parade. There was no way for us to be anywhere near the front of the mass of people who staked out good viewing positions along the route. Fortunately, the floats are built tall with their floor level at above eye level. Even those of us in the back would have no trouble viewing the ornate floats and the volume of the live music was always more than enough for us to feel like we were in the front row.

Grupo Modelo, a beer distributor, sponsored Carnaval 2015.

Grupo Modelo, a beer distributor, sponsored Carnaval 2015.

Since 1962, each carnival is given a specific theme. This year the theme is Los Suenos de Momo (The Dreams of Momo.) Momo, also known as Momus is the mythical king of carnivals in Colombia, Brazil and other countries in Latin America. From Greek mythology, Momus revels in satire and mockery, a fitting persona for a carnival theme. I submit for your enjoyment, a gallery of images from the Fat Tuesday parade. Click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.

You can view a couple of short videos of Carnaval floats in action here and here.

 

John Steiner

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