As you know, Lent is the six-week period leading up to Easter in the Christian calendar, traditionally observed as a solemn period of fasting and contemplation. That is surely the reason that the pagan festival of carnival got co-opted as a useful precursor to Lent, carnival being a last chance for indulgence before the lean times. Carnival has its different manifestations around the world, with those of Rio De Janeiro, Venice, and New Orleans being among the particularly well-known ones.
But a tiny town in Mexico's state of Oaxaca is no slouch when it comes to pulling out all the stops for carnival. You could even say that this town is particularly suited to the creation of fantasy, as their claim to fame is the creation of alebrijes -- creatures from a fever dream, brilliantly carved of wood and intricately painted in extravaganzas of design and color.
More of that later. Right now we're off to see the exuberant grease-smeared devils at the town carnival. I set off on the 14 mile trip from Oaxaca with Kate, a freelance photographer. This was my second time seeing San Martín's carnival, and her first, along with her first visit to Oaxaca.
We scored with devil sightings as soon as we hit town, so let's start with a gallery of red devils ~
Good questions, Questa! Oh, I think they must like it, because it's done with enthusiasm. The only real dress-up time in the city are the days of the dead, but various towns around the state have festivals honoring their saints or something else, and then there are often traditional dances featuring their specific time-honored costumes. This goes on all over the country. I saw a little boy get scared at this carnival last year by a demon. But as you can see by the very young age of some of the boys above, they can't wait to join in. I've never heard of any such studies, or indeed any attendant traumas. Dressing up in outlandish costumes goes back to the dawn of time, so you'd have to go to anthropological sources for theories on the reasons. I believe that red stuff is diesel oil, but I don't really know. And thanks!
Naturally there are some alebrije tables, along with a pastry table ~
There is a lull in the demon activity, so we set off to the dusty side streets ~
There are alebrije workshops all over town and signs inviting you to visit them ~
We went into a friendly workshop. It was Kate's first exposure & she was enthralled, but I got caught up in the not-yet-painted ones ~
I asked a young man there when he started with alebrijes. He said he learned to sand at age six and began carving at age twelve ~
Kerouac, I didn't see the mud men connection until you mentioned it. There was only a small group of the mud-encrusted ones, and they all had the very sleek, elaborate masks you see in the pictures.
Questa, I definitely thought of you when I snapped that big bougainvillea against the orange wall. You are so right that Australia has the light and the scope to really take off with color. What would happen if you introduced it in your neighborhood?
I have a narrow strip of garden at the front of my flat. My 4 neighbours have a few dainty flowers in pots but mine has 6 brilliant bougainvilleas currently ablaze with colour and flaunting it. Tomorrow...photos.
Travel! Set out and head for pastures new[br] Life tastes the richer when you’ve road worn feet.[br]Ibn Battuta[br]
Post by cheerypeabrain on Feb 17, 2018 10:14:58 GMT
Wow...the colours leap off the page Bixa, vibrant and exciting...I think that Questa asked all the questions that leap to mind. People all over the world celebrate in similar ways don't they? seeing your Devil Men reminds me of the times I've been happily terrified by Morris Dancers...or chased by a Cyberman. Your photographs are excellent (as always) 12th pic in post #3 belongs in a gallery....
That angled late afternoon sun was fierce. It was a bitch for getting a good picture, so I wound up standing by the speakers for a while in an attempt to get some decent shots. The volume plus the dust and the squinting were headache-inducing. As for that lady looking grim -- the loudmouth drunk sat down next to her. She is nobly pretending he isn't there.
I love this guy ~
I'm pretty sure the frizzy-haired one on the left is a woman ~
Grinding my teeth in frustration because I found out that Lila Downs was in attendance & I didn't see her! It's been interesting following what my fellow foreigners are saying online about this carnival, ranging from they missed seeing anything to others posting pictures of stuff I would have loved to see.