This week we continue our celebration of Lenten festivals with the king of them all - CARNIVAL! The entire region of Latin America is in celebration this week and our vivacious partners at Latin+Plus are going to take us there!
We’re sure you have seen the images - flamboyant costumes, mystifying masks, parades through the streets of some luscious tropical city. Come with us while we explore the history, meaning, and diverse ways in which the beginning of Lent is celebrated by our Latin neighbors.
What is your Carnival “jam?” There are crazy, party-hard versions (Rio, Colombia, Mexico), festivities with more of a “hipster” vibe (Bolivia, Uruguay), rituals laced with mystery, and lasting for weeks, as celebrated throughout the Caribbean. No matter where you find yourself, you can count on music that is contagious and dancing in the streets - so find your vibe, and come learn some Latin moves with us!
This week we will also feature the destination of Curaçao, with a special visit to to the Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, where we will enjoy a private performance by festival dancers!
In appreciation of your creative preparation to bring your best Carnival vibe to this week’s festivities, the good folks at the Curaçao Tourist Board as well as the Marriott Beach Resort are offering up a 3-night stay with lots of extras to help you shake off those Covid blues!
And as usual, the “First Five at 3:55” to log in a bit early will receive a lovely gift from our hosts at Latin+Plus, and our partner Kelly McAlister with Maui Jim will be with us to throw some shade in your direction!
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Maura Zhang, CIS, CITP
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Celebrate Latin Carnival!
Never has a phrase deserved an exclamation mark more than Latin Carnival!! Carnival is meant as a final chance to celebrate and have a good time before the solemn rituals and deprivations of Lent.
Nerdy wordy fact: The derivation of the word is uncertain, though it possibly can be traced to the medieval Latin carnem levare or carnelevarium, which means to take away or remove meat.
COLORFUL AS CAN BE
It’s common knowledge that Carnival is a Catholic celebration that takes place in several countries around the world, just before the Lent season starts. In Christianity, Lent is a time of fasting and austerity to prepare for the arrival of Easter.
Actually, the Latin term “carnem levare” or carnelevarium means “to take away meat.” And here comes the interesting spin, because in Spanish and other Romance languages carne holds the double meaning of both meat and flesh.
So, basically you could say that Carnival is the last chance to have some fun (and eat some good steaks) before Ash Wednesday kick-starts the 40 days of Lent.
THE DEVIL MADE ME DO IT!
It’s worth mentioning that some researchers consider Carnival a pagan festivity that predates Christianity. Interestingly, high levels of syncretism (or fusing of beliefs) took place among different religions of antiquity, which has contributed to a cultural blending of spiritual and philosophical ideas.
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 oz Cachaça
Garnish: Lime wheel
Check out Jamie Oliver’s variations here!
Plus, here’s a video of the delicious Playa Abou cocktail, direct from Curaçao!
HIPS DON’T LIE
Think you have two left feet? Then don’t watch this guy. He’s no help at all.
“One of the greatest aspects about Carnaval is the racial integration and meeting of different cultures.” Watch this fun video of the different Latin cultures coming together.
And here’s a more expanded history of Carnival, dating back to Egypt
On a related note: The woman on the left isn’t in a Carnival festival. Nope, it’s Lady Gaga, in one of her 120 most outrageous outfits of all time (which proves you don’t always need a parade to look, well, a bit ridiculous).
Spotify: Samba playlist
And the Curaçao playlist - enjoy!
Kelly McAlister, Maui Jim
Kelly McAlister of Maui Jim will be with us on the calls each week as judge and jury to see which planner really goes all-in with the theme. So engage, be creative, and have fun... and you may be the winner!
She’ll be doing some gifting that will surely lift your shelter-in-place spirits!