Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Harvest Festival in Curacao'

If you've been reading my blog entries for any time you know that Caribbean and South Americans love parades - and I do too. Every holiday and occasion calls for one and most people must have a lot of costumes hanging in their closets.
The commen elements are an overall theme and perhaps song divided into smaller groups united by color, pattern and their own band.
In the larger events such as Carnival on a big island like Grenada or of course the king, Trinidad, there is a third or even fourth division. For example the overall theme here was celebrating the harvest.

One group chose to illustrate the planting process and then divided this up into four or five groups in varied costumes. Even within the smallest unit there is some individual choices. Women in particular choose degrees of exposure. Unlike our own country, weight or age has nothing to do with how little or tight your clothing is!

That said this was in general a very mostly dressed crew, certainly compared to Carnival celebrations! The individual groups are led by a "King & Queen" and often a baton struting few men or women. The bands travel in decorated trucks that also serve as refreshment locations. Boys or girls get trays of cold drinks and bring them to the marchers.

The festival here in April is to celebrate the agricultural seasons, mainly the harvest, although spring was the theme of at least one of the groups. The marchers carry baskets of fruit and vegetables or mimic the motions of planting.
Every age is represented from the very old to the very young. The parade started in Santa Maria and ended in Otrabanda, the north side of Willemstad. It lasted 4 hours and they walked about 6 miles from 10 to 3. By the time we saw them at the reviewing stand everyone was looking a bit tired! It's really hot in the noon day sun here.

Thousands of people participated in the parade and thousands more watched. There are only a hundred and twenty thousand people in Curacao!
We had just had a four day weekend holiday at Easter the weekend before

and in May there will be another one around Labor Day (May 1) and the Queen's Birthday - with more parades! Scott and I will still be here then as we've been applying for a 90 day extension on our visa. The process has taken much longer due to the holidays. We hope to have our passports back May 4 and if the weather allows, sail for Bonaire.

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