Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carnival is coming

It's just two weeks until Carnival, or Mardi Gras, as it's also know in the States.

In Ecuador it means parades, floats, games, contests, lots of fun but most of all, it means that everyone will be playing water wars with each other.

Unlike Brazil, where Carnival is a huge festival of dancing through night and day, in Ecuador dancing isn't at all as important.

There will be music and dancing, there will be inebriated people around but most of all, there will be people throwing water and Carnival foam at each other.

During the Carnival everyone is a free target.
Both Brazil and Ecuador, along with many countries around the world with a dominant Catholic populations observe a form of Carnival. Even the southern U.S. has their Mardi Gras festival which is the same party just with a different name.
You cannot go out of doors without getting a bucket of water thrown at you.

I personally prefer the bucket to water balloons that actually can hurt quite a bit when thrown with force.

In my first Carnival here I wandered through the streets, trying to get a feeling of what was happening and not quite sure what Carnival in Ecuador meant.

I found out very fast when I was thrown on buckets and wash basins full of water.

And especially when I joined the fun and started throwing water at passer-byes.

There are people driving around in trucks with water basins at the back and people throwing it at everyone from there.
Carnival used to be a two week affair in Ecuador, but with this new law you are usually safe up until the weekend before Ash Wednesday (which usually falls in February). Tuesday, the final day of Carnival is the day where nothing is held back. And the streets are almost dead, with only players seen in all out war, armed with their buckets and water guns.
Or you can buy a water gun and shoot at people who happen to be close enough.

It's not just children and young people who join in the fun but entire families come together to throw water at each other.

Sometimes the fun gets a little out of hand and instead of water you are thrown eggs or flower.

There is also an entire town, called Ambato, in Ecuador where people throw fruits and flowers at each other.

Luckily in Ambato, it's not about a play war and throwing as hard as you can.
Shrove Tuesday is the last day before the long fast for the Lent period in many Christian churches. The day is the day before Ash Wednesday and usually falls between February 3 and March 9. It has many names, including Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, the Tuesday of Carnival, and Pancake Day.
At the coastal region, everyone flocks to the beaches and plays with Carioca, the Carnival foam.

It is impossible to walk around without starting to look like a foam monster.

My son loves Carnival and started playing at the beginning of February.

He has always loved it and especially he has always loved throwing water and foam at other people.

What he did not love when he was younger was when people reciprocated and threw water at him.

He usually got pretty mad and when he was little, even started crying.
In Ecuador, the carnival celebrations are expected each year for cultural and social value. In every region and city, the celebration of Carnival varies, with clear differences in the Ecuadorian coast and in Highlands.
I think that for an only child the Ecuadorian system of not leaving anyone out and not forgiving anyone leaving their home, is an excellent one.

Sometimes for an adult it’s tough if you forgot to buy something and you need to run to the shop.

But as they say, it’s Carnival and you really should be prepared.

After all, everyone tries to have a free from work during the Carnival, so they can join in the fun.

Both the beaches and the jungle area are filled with people having fun in the sun and throwing water and foam at each other.
All around the country, "diablillos" (little devils) play with water. It is a somewhat crazy game, like snow fights, which is long awaited, especially by children and teenagers, and feared by some adults. Throwing water balloons, sometimes even eggs and flour both to friends and strangers passing by the street can be a lot of fun but can also be annoying. Although the government as well as school authorities have forbidden this game, it is still widely practiced throughout the country.
Carnival fits perfectly Ecuadorian spirit of living the life and enjoying it while it lasts.

Who knows what tomorrow brings, so we better have some fun today.

40 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. I am sure the kids will love it.

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    1. Kids are the ones to enjoy it the most. And the teenagers.

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  2. looks like simple fun and a nice cool off and rinse!

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  3. Looks like fun. I have never been to carnival or Mardi Gras but my husband has.

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  4. looks like a lot of fun, I have never been to Mardi Gras, but this looks like fun for the kids.

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    1. The kids have the most fun, Susan, and the teenagers. But the families do join in.

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  5. I would probably get upset over the first bucket of water, but would quickly join in on the fun after the initial shock wore off.

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    1. That's basicly what happened to me the first time, Angela :)

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  6. This made me smile. Looks like so much fun!

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  7. What a fun Carnival! I can't believe I haven't heard about this tradition before with my SIL being from Ecuador. That would be a fun way to celebrate the Mardi gras festival.

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    1. You need to ask her, Amber. I'm sure she has tons of memories to share!

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  8. WOW, this is interesting! But, I bet a lot of fun. My girls would love the chance to throw a bucket of water at me or anyone in fact.

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  9. Wow, I had never heard of this custom. Not sure I would want to get soaked every time I went outside, but I would like to throw water at people. :)

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  10. Oh my goodness, what fun... kinda reminds me about the confetti filled eggs that we smash over heads around Easter...

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    1. I'm sure those eggs would be very popular here around Carnival time, Shauna

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  11. How fun! Your photos make me smile for everyone is having so much fun!

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  12. Oh my gosh that sounds like so much fun!!! I am sure I would be a little jumpy the whole time wondering when the next bucket is coming! LOL Love the foam, though!!

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    1. It was like that for me at first, Jennifer. But then you get wet and it doesn't matter anymore. It's all about getting others as wet too, LOL

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  13. I have never heard of these types of practices for Carnival before. My kids love throwing water!

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  14. How interesting that they throw water and foam instead of beads. Looks like everyone is dressed for getting wet and not in their best clothes.

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    1. Nobody wears their best clothes during Carnival, Neva. That's what I was told my first Carnival here. A very good advice if you ask me :)

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  15. ok THIS looks like a ton of fun!! im' sure my kids would flip out when someone retaliated and threw foam or water on them- b ut they are little....as they get older they'd appreciate more.

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    1. My son would cry and get really angry when someone retaliated him, Brett. Now he's bigger and understands it's part of the game. And finds it hilarious.

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  16. Carnival sounds like a lot of fun. Guess I'd have to wear a raincoat or swimsuit around town!

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  17. Sounds like you are having so much fun.

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  18. Wow, that looks like a lot of fun!

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  19. Looks like such an adventurous time of laughter and happiness!

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    1. It is exactly that, Liz. And the best part is that it's family fun.

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  20. oh my goodness this looks like so much fuN!

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  21. I've never heard of this before. Looks pretty fun!

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  22. Love the photos! It looks like they are all having a great time! :)

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  23. I love hearing how different places celebrate Carnival. When I was in college one of the girls I met there told me awesome stories about how they celebrated in Saba in the Netherlands Antilles. Looks like you all have a great time!

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    1. There are so many different traditions around the world, Liza. I love to hear about them also. And experiencing them :)

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  24. A carnival sounds like fun to me. Its always good to have something fun to look forward to.

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  25. Oh this sounds like fun, yet stressful only because here in the States we're always so serious! I think something like this would help us all learn to relax a little more and have some fun! :D

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    1. Ecuadorians tend to think that since everything can be over any moment, we better have us much fun as possible before that happens. If they know something, it's how to relax and have fun.

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  26. Never heard of this before! Sounds fun. Thank you for sharing at Time For Mom!

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  27. Wow, thanks for telling us about that. I didn't know but it sure looks like fun! My sons and grandchildren would love it! Teresa from NanaHood.com

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  28. That looks like an amazing time! I'd love to be part of it.

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