Today is Fat Tuesday, the last day of the carnival season which always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. In the Catholic faith, Lent is the beginning of forty days of prayer, fasting and alms giving.
This morning in Ajijic there is much excitement in anticipation of the largest of the annual Carnival Parades. Lots of loud music, laughter, colourful costumes, amazing face masks. Very different from the one in Chapala a few days ago.
We were there early and this group posed for us . . .
Always the balloon sellers . . .
More participants heading towards the start . . .
Chair anyone? . . .
The masks are worn to give the revellers an escape from society and class constraints. Mardi Gras is a Christian festival borrowed from the pagans. The pagans who survived the dreaded winter, showed their appreciation to their gods for surviving by throwing flour (the symbol of life) into the fields. In today’s parades an alternative to this is the throwing of coloured confetti. Depending on the ‘devil’ in front of you, you won’t know which he’s throwing until he does.
There were many men dressed like women, devils, monsters, etc. And hoards of participants carried a bag or sack (although disguised) of flour to throw on parade participants and the crowds that lined the sidewalks.
The men dressed like well endowed women are called Sayacas and the idea is to try to outrun them before they pummel you with flour. Not easily done. Lots of people covered in flour by the end of the parade. Great fun for everyone participating!
Off course there's always the COWboys, ha-ha . . .
Walking in the square afterwards we found all the tools of a good Carnaval Parade reveller . . .
Those balls are actually hollowed out eggs filled with flour.
(Nellie was a little concerned about the effect of the flour dust on the camera, but managed to clean it up just fine)