January 25 2013
Betopey "Cumbia En Carnival"
In New Orleans it’s called Mardi Gras, but for the most of the world, it’s called Carnival. And Carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia is one of the best. A triple cultural fusion dating back to the 19th century, Barranquilla's carnival has roots in the Spanish Catholic tradition but has incorporated aspects of African and indigenous culture, epitomizing the ethnic fusion of Colombia's unique ethnic diversity through music, dance, color and costumes.
The ethnic dances, unique characters and costumes are unlike the carnival celebrations of Rio de Janeiro, or Europe. Highlights include the Battle of the Flowers parade, which kicks off the festivities. The traditional parade, which has been a hallmark of Barranquilla's carnival since 1903, is a procession of flower-adorned floats, bands, dance troops and costumed groups. The parade is headed by the Carnival Queen, who tosses flowers out to her subjects and revelers.
The Grand Parade showcases local dances including the sultry cumbia which simulates a couple courting, the garabato, a stylized dance that symbolizes the victory of life over death and the torito folk dance in which a group pantomimes a bullfight with singing and dancing.
The four days of festivities come to a close on Tuesday with the "funeral" of Joselito Carnival. Joselito is a character symbolizing the revelry that is carnival. After four days of intense partying, Joselito dies and he is symbolically buried representing a farewell to the indulgence of carnival and the start of Lent, the Catholic period of fasting and prayer before Easter.