Feb 9-13 The Re-Evolution Carnival of Mérida 2024: from Fantasy to Innovation

It’s that time of year again and the festivities are here! Pre-carnival activities have been happening since late January and the parades start on February 9th. 

Carnival in Latin America has a rich and diverse history that reflects the cultural amalgamation of indigenous, European, and African traditions. While each country and region has its own unique variations, there are common themes and elements that contribute to the vibrant and lively celebrations across the continent. Carnival often involves a syncretism of Catholic and indigenous beliefs. Many Carnival celebrations are timed to coincide with the Catholic pre-Lenten season, providing a festive outlet before the somber period of Lent. 

Colonial, Indigenous & African Influences:

The roots of Carnival in Latin America can be traced back to the colonial period when European settlers brought their pre-Lenten celebrations to the New World. These festivities often included masked balls, parades, and masquerade parties. Indigenous populations in Latin America already had their own traditional celebrations and rituals tied to agricultural cycles and nature. Over time, these indigenous elements merged with the European festivities, creating a unique blend of traditions. With the arrival of African slaves, especially in regions like Brazil and the Caribbean, Carnival incorporated elements of African music, dance, and spirituality. African rhythms, drumming, and vibrant costumes became integral parts of Carnival celebrations.

Carnival in Merida

Known as the “Carnaval de Mérida,” takes place in the days leading up to Lent, aligning with the global tradition of pre-Lenten festivities. The Carnival in Merida is a lively and colorful event that includes parades, music, dancing, and various cultural activities. For many years it took place on the streets of Centro and it was five days of vibrant street parties, colorful and fantastic! Now it is held at the Xmatkuil fairgrounds that is about a 25 minute drive from Merida. 

You’ll find lots of food vendors and stalls, drinks, live music, parades and everyone dressed in carnivalesque attire! Get out your feathered boa or colorful beads and bright hat and join the fun!

It’s an event for the whole family.

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