In Latin America, Mardi Gras is known as Carnaval, and here in Morelia the annual Carnaval Festival is called “Torito de Petate” – the festival of the “little bull made of woven reeds.” The operative word here is Torito … and they have bulls in all shapes and sizes!
The concept originates from dances featuring sparring bulls that date back to the Spanish conquest of the New World. Over the years this concept has evolved into a fascinating neighborhood tradition. Groups from over 100 Morelia neighborhoods each create an elaborate “bull” that will be worn by an individual (much like building a float for a parade, but on a smaller scale). The Torito is often referred to as a “backpack bull” since it’s worn like a backpack.
The culmination of the season was a parade last weekend that featured each neighborhood’s Torrito accompanied by a crew of helpers dancing to enthusiastic music. What a show!
This little girl is stocking up on eggs … but not just any old eggs. These are cascarones – the signature mischief maker of Morelia’s Carnaval season.
Cascarones (or confetti eggs) are hollowed-out chicken eggs filled with confetti. The goal is to throw them at someone or crush one over someone’s noggin. (You can imagine these in the hands of strapping teenage boys!)
Some other towns even fill them with ketchup or mustard! Fortunately here in Morelia they’re just confetti … and just good clean fun.
Having a cascaron crushed over your head is said to bring good luck.
Kids love Morelia’s Carnaval and put on their own shows around the Plaza Valladolid amid the vendors and spectators. This costumed troupe of four stair-stepped brothers danced enthusiastically to their uncles’ music for 30 minutes straight.
But as we all know, when you’re done … you’re done.
So that’s it for Carnaval 2014. Hope you had a great Mardi Gras wherever you were,