Veracruz Carnival is the home of the worlds largest temporary stadium holding the greatest paid annual attendance. Latin Americas 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 Californias 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.
for VeraCruz Carnaval 2000 by
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.
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
Americas oldest Carnaval cities. Buses can take you to Mexicos 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
The Citys 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 Rios 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,
Mexicos 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.
|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
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. Mexicos 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 Carnavals 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, Mexicos most soulful City. The harbor dominates the downtown and walking along the waters edge happens effortlessly. You get the same feeling watching Jarochos dance their Danzón.
of the Carnival in Veracruz by
2000 Official Pages with
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Last Update Feb 15, 2000 back soon