Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Carnival in Spain

Today if you were in Spain you would be celebrating Carnival.  Carnival in Spain, like elsewhere around the world, marks the start of Lent, the 40 days before Easter.  Spain which was a devoted Catholic country still has a number of people that follow the religion, and even those that aren't Catholic partake in the festivities.  The most popular and extravagant carnival celebrations happen in Cadiz and Tenerife, but Segovia where our study abroad group was living, also had a small celebration.  The carnival can last for days, but in Segovia it was a tad more conservative. Although, there was some celebrating over the weekend too.

There is a procession of decorated floats through the streets, music, people decked out in costumes and lots of feasting.  Our study abroad group was so excited to gather up items for costumes, as for us it was similar to the Halloween we celebrated in the U.S.  Except there is a BIG difference....no one was handing out candy.  For those candyholics out there, myself included, we're thankful there is a Halloween. And it is for that reason Halloween would trump Carnival.  But even without the chocolately treats, Carnival created quite a spectacle.  All decked out in costumes we went out to celebrate with the rest of Segovia the last evening before Lent began.  

Personally, I thought it was so cool to celebrate the start of Lent in this way since I never had before.  The parade was small, but there was something special about the celebrants parading down the cobblestone and brick pathways, leading all the way to the great Roman Aqueduct that Segovia is famous for.    The parade had jugglers, flame eaters, and lots of group costumes.  There were some dressed as wizards (the Merlin kind of wizards not Harry Potter wizards - in case you were wondering), some jellyfish costumes using umbrellas and lots and lots of masks.

I got a kick out of being a butterfly in March.  It was a tad cool, being that it was in fact March, but just like Halloween in Minnesota, sometimes you gotta sacrifice function for fashion.  Besides dressing like this in March in MN, would never happen so we all celebrated it while we could.  I mean if you compare the temperatures today in MN, no one in their right mind would be parading around in tights, long sleeves, antennas and wings.  Hmmm...why would I choose to live in such a harsh climate?  Plain crazy I guess, but luckily there are a whole lotta other people, just as crazy, because they live there too. 

Reflecting back I'm blessed to have had the chance to experience such festivity, and to do it in Spain!  And the fact that we were rejoicing in the coming of Lenten traditions made home not seem so far away.  Yup I was missing MN...even the snow.  Like I said, I'm crazy.  So today I look back 4 years to my time in Spain, and will think about the Carnival that is happening half a world away.

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