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The Carnaval of VeraCruz

Veracruz Carnival is the home of the world’s largest temporary stadium holding the greatest paid annual attendance. Latin America’s most spectacular non-Brazilian Carnaval does not officially claim this title but their total official estimated paid attendance for six parades beginning on Carnaval Saturday is 3,000,000. No other parade or Carnaval comes close to what historic Port of Veracruz has done every year since 1923.

The seating set up, like exclusive sky boxes in a stadium, promotes lots of socializing among friends and relatives who know they can leave or arrive late and not lose their coveted position. Hundreds of long-time licensees put up more than double the 200,000 seats erected for Southern California’s New Years Day Rose Bowl Parade A Carnaval spectator gets to enjoy countless Carnaval groups including over 50 plus salsa dance groups (bailes tropicales) and three samba bands.

The parades features hundreds of beautiful, scantily clad women shaking to Latin dance rhythms on some pretty large floats featuring beer and soda company props. The floats in the parades will not change too much but a Carnavelesco traveler needs to experience at least one of the four spectacular night parades where the water, lights, rhythms and interaction between the crowd and dancers gives back as much energy as you want to put into the potent mix.

Program for VeraCruz Carnaval 2000 by veracruz-turismo.gob.mx
Begins the Tuesday before the 7 days before Carnaval on Feb. 29, 2000
 with a children's parade, a parade to retire Bad Humor and a ceremony in the Zocolo and concludes many parades later on Ash Wednesday March 8th 2000 with last courtship and interment of Juan Carnaval

clown.jpg (2883 bytes)Vera Cruz residents or Jarochos are friendly and eager to explain their special feeling for their home. Their deep attraction for their alluring yet intangible city soul can best be felt at the Zocolo. Year-round the Zocolo is filled with people entertaining themselves outdoors at all hours amongst a festive atmosphere of outdoor cafes, street musicians and the beauty of the historic buildings and tall trees. Throughout the heightened atmosphere of Carnaval many free events can be enjoyed on the Zocolo main stage while dozens of street muscians perform at the perimeters. This main Vera Cruz central plaza is also the location for the two ritual dramas that open and close the Carnaval.

Do not miss your chances to dance at the Zocolo, the many other excellent Jarochos couples dancing to the rhythms of the Caribbean will elevate you and your partner. Salsa, cumbia, reggae, and marimba are popular but a special place in the heart is held for the music and dance known as Danzón which first arrived from Cuba in 1880. Danzon is a graceful almost ritual like couples dance with a warmth and natural cadence that speaks volumes about the Vera Cruz culture. This is the City which gave the world La Bamba and in 1992 erected a museum to the great pre World War II musician, Agustín Lara, whose 1936 hit song Veracruz is the sentimental anthem of the city and a good Danzón number as well.

The Historic Port City
pyramid.gif (44343 bytes)Many visitors pass on the sold out parades although tickets can be easily obtained if you or your hotel has a connection. Instead they immerse themselves in the rhythms of one the America’s oldest Carnaval cities. Buses can take you to Mexico’s oldest archaeological treasures including most of the mysterious 3000 year old gigantic Olmec heads which some believe represent African facial features. Vera Cruz is where Cortez. The Cuban conqueror of the powerful Aztecs burned his ships in 1519 to give his men no other option than to go forth in their quest to conquer the Aztez rulers in Mexico City. The fierce local Toltec nation was at war with the Aztecs and agreed to an alliance with the conquistador.

The City’s large tourist industry depends primarily on natives from Mexico City who appreciate the great seafood at bargain prices and plenty of hotel rooms for less than $60 per night and even less than $10 if your not particular about hot water or air conditioning. During Carnaval, the urban hotels sell out so be sure to have good paperwork on your reservations to avoid unpleasant surprises at check-in. Also discriminating travelers can stay nearby in Boca Del Río with its first class tourist infrastructure of resort hotels, convention center and beautiful beaches. Be sure to visit Boca Del Rio’s gastronomic center on the banks of the Jamapa River easily accessible through the extensive bus and taxi system of Veracruz.

A few hundred miles down the coast is the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico’s premier international vacation region. From the spectacular high rise hotel vacation paradise at Cancun, to the lower density but still bustling sun and surf hot spots of Isla Mujeres. Playa del Carmen and Cozumel island you can avoid speaking Spanish and enjoy as much vacation luxury as you can afford. This is where the Mayans built their greatest Cities and pyramids based on a sophisticated knowledge of the same 26,000 year cycles of the earth which the ancient Egyptians used. Nowadays college students come here to conduct simpler versions of wild bacchanal for their infamous Spring breaks.

Caribbean Connection
Veracruz, as the greatest mainland Carnaval between New Orleans and Brazil, readily salutes its African heritage as one of the elements which make their City great in its own right. The City museum charts the miscegenation of the black bloodline into the native and European population of VeraCruz. The great appreciation for AfroCaribeno culture is shown with an annual Afrocaribeno Festival Internacional produced by the Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura which features over 1,500 participants each June. There is a special relation with Cuba whose starring role as Carnaval artists has become a Veracruz tradition.
Veracruz, lively Mulatto woman, city of Rumba and Danzón,
Mulattos woman with your shawl knotted at your hip;
Veracruz, rhythmic Mulatto woman,
Veracruz, Mulatto woman living for the Carnaval.

Paco Pildora The history of Veracruz, The Party Goes On)


pompom.jpg (3284 bytes)The nine days of Veracruz Carnaval begin on the second Tuesday before Ash Wednesday with "Quema del Mal Humor" The burning of the bad mood and move through a well known cycle until Ash Wednesday with the exhumation of "Juan Carnaval." The integration of thousands of people taking Ashes from the Catholic Church on the Zocolo with a mock ritual funeral where the deities of the Carnaval season are retired is one of the best endings any Carnaval anywhere has achieved.

The days outside of ordinary time begin with widespread anticipation for the important Zocolo opening ceremony where there is an enthusiastic pursuit, persecution and burning of the satanic personages identified as "Mal Humor" or bad mood. Mal Humor is then buried so the all may sing and dance in the streets with help from music, costume and the mask. Until the adult grand parade on Saturday night the week is dominated by Coronations of the Queen and "rey feo" ugly Kings as well as kids coronations and their parade as well. This is the time the people of Vera Cruz can best show off their nature as a friendly and cheerful people.

The Queen or Reina of Veracruz Carnaval is held in high esteem with a prominent role in all the official events. The 1998 Queen, Claudia Morando Bolio had the regal charm one would expect from a Queen selected from Veracruz high society. The full ball gowns and tiaras worn by the Queen and her court of Princesses are similar to the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition which revolve around the ritual of families introducing young their daughters into own society with regal ceremony and royal costumes. Mexico’s other great Carnaval is on the Pacific Coast in Mazatlan, also known as a Carnaval which stars its Queens particularly in 1998 for its 100th anniversary.

The most exciting parts of the Carnaval are the costumed bailes tropicales groups who dance with such amazing grace and precision. Their wild but elegant costumes are a perfect complement to the joyful rhythmic dances they perform for enthusiastic crowds. The groups have several dance songs they learn for the season and have perfected how to execute them while moving forward in the desfile (parade).

Vera Cruz Carnaval is many centuries old but the date where the religious aspect was first celebrated was 1866. This Carnaval has been held without interruption since 1925 with a strong feeling for its many rituals. For example the Ugly King is crowned by the Queen three days after the beginning of the Carnaval. The Queen is the Carnaval’s most important personage giving meaning to the many ceremonies she participates in. The Carnaval has its own large section in the City Museum where the Kings and Queens are forever immortalized.

Veracruz Carnaval like many of its fellow Latin American Carnavals has merged church, state and the collective will of the people into unique syncretic annual traditions that preserve the past while looking forward to the future. Five hundred years ago, the Italian Renaissance demonstrated how this could be done within the constraints of church oversight. This was when the word Carnevale (from the Latin roots meaning carne= flesh valle= farewell) was invented. Veracruz Carnaval has a soul as old as the Olmecs and as new as the flowers sold by the Indian women in the Zocolo.

The air is languid in Vera Cruz, Mexico’s most soulful City. The harbor dominates the downtown and walking along the water’s edge happens effortlessly. You get the same feeling watching Jarochos dance their Danzón.

Direccion Municipal de Turismo
(29) 32-19-99 / 32-31-31

AfroCaribeno International Festival
Instituto Veracruzano e Cultural
Canal S/n esq Aragoza C.P. 91700
Veracruz, Ver. México
Tel/fax (29) 31 43 96 / 31 69 62

 History of the Carnival in Veracruz by veracruz-turismo.gob.mx || Program 2000 Official Pages with a History in English: || Home
 
"That's how our Carnival festivity, considered at present as the most important in Mexico, turned into a beautiful and traditional night without comparison. It communicates joy and enthusiasm to visitors and port dwellers that lives the rhythms and dances existing in our friendship town."

Veracruz Carnaval Schedule in aforum
We've grouped Veracruz with other Latin American Carnaval Cities while we anxiously await their web components

Samba Groups in Mexico by worldsamba.org
In need of an update. Contact
Carnival in Veracruz
by bushwings
by Bushpilot Ronn Fox "Dressed to the nines, we all assembled at the appointed hour to begin an odyssey that may happen only once in a lifetime."
La Candelaria in Tlacotalpan
  by Janice Carraher for mexconnect.com
"50 weeks out of the year Tlacotalpan sits in its torpid tropical slumber, but starting late January and running for two weeks it celebrates the Fiesta de la Candelaria. For most of these two weeks the Feria (fair) is made up of a carnival, bailes tropicales (salsa dances), and a very large tianguis (temporary market). " Tlacotalpan is a river town 45 minutes from VeraCruz

GROUPS

Carnaval Veracruzano bookings by http://www.sroartists.com || more 
Traditional Mexican dance favorite Grupo "Quetzalli" de Veracruz unites with the fiery ensemble, Combo Ninguno,  and Tlen-Huicani (the Singers of Veracruz) in celebration of the world’s most infectious music…salsa! With a rainbow of costumes and a river of rhythms, this 35-member company renders a vivid and awe-inspiring spectacular of the Caribbean.


Fotos

Veracruz Carnaval
More in the works we hope

TOURS
 Vercruz Carnaval by InfoHub.com by
ARCO IRIS Gay Mexico Travel Experts
"the residents of Veracruz KNOW how to party! The Mexican-Caribbean port city of Veracruz is known for its festive atmosphere."

Other Festivals & Carnavals in Mexico

Fiestas & Events

Carnaval by mexonline.com  || 
"In Mexico, many cities have Carnaval celebration of various sizes, but the biggest events take place in the port cities, with the largest of all in Mazatlán. Mazatlán's Carnaval is said to attract well over 300,000 people."

Mazatlan on the Pacific Coast has a spectacular Carnaval and it is best to not measure pleasure but feel it still Veracruz has well over 300,000 at each of their 4 night parades.
 Carnaval in Mazatlan, Mexico by Monica Conrady

For 2000 Our travel Carnaval.com correspondent Monica will be giving us a report from the greatest Carnaval in Central America  PANAMA

Carnaval.com.mx  Mazatlan
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Lost the English section but gained  some cool Flash. The Queens or La Reinas of Mazaltan Carnaval are the most beautiful in Mexico in North America  

Semana Santa by mexonline.com 
.. Most countries in the New World have drifted away from the contemplative quiet period of Lent which is supposed to follow Carnaval leading to Easter Sunday. Not in Mexico where Semana Santa is the holy week that ends the 40-day Lent period.  
.red_star.gif (2190 bytes)Official & Religious Mexican Holidays || .Local Festivals Guide.
Veracruz rates one mention for Santiago Tuxtla, Jul 25 - Day of St. James the Apostle, demonstrating the Liseres, Negritos and other local Indian dances.

Dia de Los Muertos

mexicosmn.gif (761 bytes)Dia de los Muertos by mexconnect || Activites || Photos [email protected]
"If you’ve never seen a Mexican cemetery, Day of the Dead in the time to go. You’ll be astonished with how colorful and festive they are done up for this holiday -- and how personalized and non-symmetrical they seem compared to North American standards." Things to do around Guadalajara and Lake Chapala.(Dale Hoyt Palfrey)

Mixquic: The Day of the Dead and the Day of All Saints ||
[email protected]

In Mexico on the first two days of November, the dead are remembered in a very special celebration which is one of the most hallowed traditions in the Mexican culture. by the Mexico Consul General in Austin, Texas
Day of the Dead || ESPAÑOL || red_star.gif (2190 bytes)Dia De Los Muertos Links
Dedicated to artist Guillermina Villarreal Sautto
"Material things did not interest her, but she had a passion for people and beauty. One of her favorite lines of poetry was from Pablo Neruda
I want to do to you what the springtime does to the cherry trees
She was an artist at swiftly winning people's hearts by becoming their springtime"

Dia de Los Muertos by mexico-travel.com

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Last Update Feb 15, 2000 back soon