The end of February is nigh
Lent is fast approaching and to mark this period of contemplative fasting much of the Christian world in Europe and South America will be letting their hair down with the annual blow out of feasting, drinking and partying known as Mardi Gras, Carnival or here in the Balearics as Carnaval. The word carnaval comes from the Latin meaning goodbye to meat, as we won't be eating any for 40 days and nights during Lent.
Lucky Brits know this very special celebration as Pancake Tuesday, where we really get to let our hair down in preparation for a miserable month by eating a few delicious pancakes with sugar and lemon juice! Can life get any better?
Anyway, here in Mallorca we mark the occasion with big parades through the streets of all the towns, usually from the Saturday to the Tuesday before Lent, where thousands of people – both those taking part and those watching – glam up in fancy dress and have a ball.
Usually, the participants and their high decorated floats are from various groups – neighbourhoods, sports clubs, associations of different nationalities – and are accompanied by lots of marching musicians, dancers and quite a lot of amplified music as they parade through the streets. It's a chance for everyone to dress up and get a little bit satirical, poking fun at local and national politicians, make points about the environment, and if you like watching scantily clad young ladies jigging about, then the floats of the Colombians and Uruguayans are a joy to behold!
The biggest parade of all, known as the Rua, is of course in Palma, and it takes place on Sunday 26th February at 17:00 on the dot, starting in La Rambla, passing through Unio, up past the top of the Borne and along Jaime III with the prize giving for the best costumes, floats, and so on taking place by the 'turtles' fountain at the top of the Borne.
It's great fun; the noise, colour, and fun are all enveloping and I always like the environmental protesters moaning about saving the planet whilst throwing about 8 tons of confetti over everyone within range. Don't miss it!