Carnaval in Ocozocuatla

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What an outrageous celebration! A gluttonous procession of color, creativity, and good cheer. And perhaps the best of all, the citizens of Ocozocuatla welcome strangers with broad gestures: Come in and dance with us! Wait a minute, let me pose for a photo! Don’t like talcum powder all over you, don’t worry, I’ll keep it in the bag…Bienvenidos!

Carnaval In OcozocoautlaThe costumes are glorious and imaginative. Every headdress is festooned with brilliant tissue paper or crepe paper flowers and steamers. Necklaces are strung with small Chicklets boxes, candy, peanuts, whatever can be punctured and strung. Costumes, in addition to the featured headdresses, range from shirts and jeans to shiny capes and elaborate tailor made outfits that distinguish one group from another.

We arrived at 9:45 on the Sunday before Lent, just in time to walk the streets and watch the various groups get ready for the parade.

Some of the men carried braided ropes that they whipped Carnaval In Ocozocoautlaaggressively against the pavement. Others twirled wooden noise makers, creating a raucous clatter. Adults and kids tied on their leggings of metal bells. Women arranged their baskets and signs announcing their area of town or school affiliation. One group invited us to dance with them in a crowded little room where men danced the two step and enjoyed the fact that we extranjeros were participating in the fun.

Before the parade began we were welcomed by the local bystanders with smiles and gestures that we could stand anywhere we wanted to take the best photos.

Initially we cringed when the talcum OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApowder started flying. Then we too shrugged and started smiling when we realized that we couldn’t escape the white cloud. One man who was watching me protect my camera offered me a bag to cover it. So nice to be surrounded by their “bienvenidos” hospitality.

For the last several years, my favorites have been the Parachicos who parade during the January festival in Chiapa de Corazo. Well, now I’m adding carnival in Ocozocuatla to my list.

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