Colourful Carnival

Trip Start Apr 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 27, 2010

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Saturday, February 6, 2010

The first weekend in February sees a colourful carnival come to town in Arica. Unlike many of the other "carnavals" that take place throughout Souh America (most notably in Rio de Janiero) the festival in Arica isn't rooted in religion. It's a celebration of the communities from all over the area and is known as "Fuerza del Sol" (I think it's roughly Strength of the Sun). The festival began last night and many people in fantastically colourful and decorative outfits paraded down the streets before a firework display was launched from the top of the Morro - explaining to me why they'd left the hugh New Year sign in place as they used it to launch the fireworks!

I went to watch some of the parade on Saturday and felt really sorry for some of the dancers that were jumping about so energetically in the blazing heat, I was tired just watching them. It was really great to see how many children joined in with the parade and the support that the crowd gave to all of the performers. I think there were some awards but wasn't actually standing at the section where the person had a microphone so missed out on that!

My favourite group were the ones in the turquoise and pink outfits with spiders on them. They had a young boy at the front who turned round to pose for me as I took a picture and made me laugh with his supreme confidence. There was also a tiny girl dressed in white that kept wandering off and had to get retreived by her dad, she was incredibly cute. As I've found with so many things in Chile and Argentina the whole atmosphere was very family oriented and I saw huge groups of families enjoying their time together. There didn't seem to be any problems with people getting drunk or causing trouble - not that I witnessed anyway.

The atmosphere over the whole weekend was great although I never quite got used to bumping into people dressed in their full parade regalia in the supermarket! Hopefully the pictures I've uploaded will convey the fantastic colours on display.

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