Every year, around the world, millions of revellers gather in the month of February, or sometimes in March, to dance, march, sing, choose a king and queen, and make merry. This tradition, called carnaval or Mardi Gras and generally practiced in Roman Catholic cultures, is a cathartic preparation to enter the period of abstinence – known as lent. Thus, the dates vary – depending on the date of Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. Usually, carnaval celebrations begin on the Wednesday of the prior week and conclude on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday.
Cozumelanians have been practicing the carnaval tradition for over a 100 years, and it is a time they go all out on costumes, concerts, and parades. This year, the week long festival promises to be one of the best and has the islanders talking of how 9 million pesos will be spent on the local party. The municipal government has announced that popular music acts such as Yuri, Belinda, and La Sonora Dinamita will be topping the bill this year, and tickets will be available at the Municipal Palace, on the main square.
The festivities begin on Wednesday, March 2 and will continue until Wednesday March 9th. The big parades will take place on Saturday through Tuesday. Two events not to be missed will take place on March 6th and March 8th. The first is a concert in the park, Quintana Roo. La Sonora Dinamita will be playing cumbia music – popular throughout Mexico (especially in the Yucatan), the Caribbean, and Central and South America (especially Columbia). The other event takes place on Fat Tuesday and is the most spectacular of all the parades. The floats flow by the malecon (boardwalk), along the sea, and glitter with sequins and feathers. That night the party will reach a crescendo with music and dancing in the street.
Many hotels, such as Flamingo Hotel, will have floats in the parade and invite their guests to join in the local fun. They are also offering special rates for carnaval week.
Image courtesy of Lena Hyde