Festive Carnivals in Mexico

Fernando García Castro

Mexico Carnivals

The festivals of Carnival bring allegory which completely takes over the most festive cities of the world during one week out of the year. In Mexico, the most festively representative examples are Veracruz and Mazatlan, port cities which irradiate warmth and are famous for their incessant partying, which runs through their veins. The locals say goodbye to the bad vibes during the festivities while joy invades the spirit and fills everyone with enough good vibes to last till next year.

Carnival in MexicoCarnival is a brief moment in time in which the town has a King and Queen and festive reverence and thanks are given to His and Her Royal Highnesses who, with the help of the Royal Court, spread joy in the many colorful parades that tour the decorated streets everyday.

Mardi-Gras MexicoThe carnivalesque spirit is catchy and infects everyone, from those who give in to their animal instincts to those who consider the event with purely religious merit. In reality, the ambiance of pleasure bathes everyone, regardless of in which city (big or small) Carnival is celebrated with ostentatious parades or with devote liturgical festivals.

Carnival MazatlanIn the Carnivals of Mexico, which by natural impulse and tradition, gives free reign to the "guateque", which dedicates the entire time to the party ambiance and to "spreading the love" to everyone you sit next to, regardless of who they are. Music, laughs, drinks and dance are shared and form a permanent smile on the faces of all the participants of the parade and invitees.

Everything starts when the bad vibes are "burnt" in a symbolic ceremony. Normally the effigy of a popularly disliked person is made, one who most often tends to be a politician or any sort of public figure that has caused a scandal or has been involved in bad situations of the year that has just passed. The figure is then taken in front of the town and publicly hanged and burnt. The crowning of the King and Queen and their respective Royal Coteries take place, making way for the good vibes to come.

Carnival Veracruz The Queen is generally the local representative of beauty while the King (also called the "Ugly King" or the "King of Happiness", which is the nicer version of the former) is a gross representation of Roman deity of craziness and mockery, Momo. Together, with their courtesans, the King and Queen are in charge of transmitting all this happiness to their subjects. The parties, parades and endless dances performed by professional troupes that have decades of history and presence in Carnivals. They last for seven days continuously or until you drop and the spirit of the festival is buried, personified by the figure of "Juan Carnaval" (John Carnival). On Carnival Tuesday, the imaginary figure of "Juan Carnaval" is buried, marking the end of seven exhausting days of carnivalesque celebration.

On the day after, Ash Wednesday, Lent begins, starting the religious reflection and penitence that serves as purification and preparation for the liturgic acts of Holy Week.

Mardi-Gras VeracruzThe dates of Carnival are not the same because they depend on the religious dates of Holy Week and Ash Wednesday, which are based on the lunar calendar. Good Friday corresponds to the first full moon after the Spring Equinox (in 2008, they coincide on the same day). Calculating those particular days, the rest of Holy Week can be determined. Forty days before Palm Sunday is Ash Wednesday, day on which Lent begins (the forty days of fasting) and it is close to Tuesday of Carnival (Mardi-Gras, as it is known in French), day in which the weekly period ("of red meat", of pleasure and of Carnival) parties ends.

Mardi-Gras MazatlanThe Carnivals of Mexico are definitely some of the best in the world. There is not a description that can bring you close to the reality. There are experiences that have to be lived first hand in order to feel the collective enthusiasm and become infected with good vibes. So we invite you to travel to Mazatlan, Veracruz or any other city where you can give in to the absolute joy of the happiest period of the year, with its fantastic and animated Carnival.