CARNIVAL IN BELIZE - Ambergris Caye
CONDONED VANDALISM OR JUST HAVING FUN - You Decide
HISTORY OF CARNIVAL
Hundred and hundreds of years ago, the followers of the Catholic religion started the tradition of holding a wild costume festival the weekend before Lent. This celebration was created for those who felt suppressed by their Christian faith. It was a time (the weekend before Lent) to dress in wild costume, drink to excess and express who you really are (good or bad). As time passed, this celebration slowly started to endorse the wild behavior of throwing paint on anyone and everything - to what it is today, as seen in the pictures.
Important to Caribbean art festivals are the ancient pagan traditions of parading and moving in circles through villages in costumes and masks. This circling through villages was believed to bring good fortune (by appeasing evil spirits), in an attempt to heal problems, and chill out angry relatives who had died and passed into the next world. Some Carnival traditions were also borrow from the African tradition of putting together natural objects (bones, grasses, beads, shells, fabric) to create a piece of sculpture, a mask, or costume — with each object or combination of objects being an avenue for self expression, in an attempt to appease wicked spirits.
Feathers were frequently used by Africans in their motherland on masks and headdresses as a symbol of their ability as humans to rise above problems, pains, heartbreaks, illness — to travel to another world to be reborn and to grow spiritually. Today, these feathers are seen in many of the Carnival costumes. African dance and music traditions transformed from these early carnival celebrations, have today been replaced by wild drinking, dancing and the throwing of paint. Carnival provides many (who feel suppressed) by their Christian beliefs, the opportunity to express themselves prior to participating in Lent.
Carnival is an important aspect to life in San Pedro, many schools and businesses are closed the following day, to allow people the opportunity to sleep in and recover from the revelries the night before - and to allow store owners time to clean up and recover from any damage.
Then church services (Lent) are then held on Wednesday, for those who wish to return and embrace their Christian beliefs abandoned the weekend prior.