I am entering this post a little late as we are experiencing technological difficulties ( i.e. no Internet, no power, no charge) and so despite the fact that we are now in Spain, I have to share with you our time in Carcassonne!
Who would have known that when we arrived in Carcassonne on Saturday Feb 15, after a week in the beautiful Pyrenees that we would have chanced upon an amazing festival of dance, costumes and theatre!
I have taught my Year 3 girls at Roseville for some years now about the Mardi Gras season, which is a time of festival before lent each year – a time to celebrate everything and eat, drink and be merry before a time of sacrifice and reflection. I must admit though that before now, I have never experienced such an event first hand and wow, was it worth it!
Le carnaval, as it is called in Carcassonne, kicked off at around 5pm. People everywhere were dressed up in all kinds of outfits and masks. Of course we had to get into the mood and buy the kids some masks from the local mask shop and a massive bag of confetti, which the lady in the shop said we have permission to throw anywhere and everywhere we liked. There was a ceremony of some sort and lots of chanting and a band playing. Then the ‘foule’ started to head off down the streets with more dancing and merriment.
At this point we left the excitement for a quick bite to eat, before joining everyone again at le dôme, where there was a ceremony, voting in the new King and Queen of Carnaval, more dancing, singing and ‘la cremation’, where the huge float that had been the focus of the march, was burnt to a shred. All the while, people, including us, had joined hands and were dancing around the fire cool hey!?
Very different and we still don’t quite understand all that went on that night, but suffice to say that it was amazing to be a part of and an unexpected and special way to spend our last Saturday night in la belle France.