Carnaval in Merida - Nueva Era 2012

The time is once again upon us - 

If you click on the word above, Carnaval, you go to the government planners webpage. There is a fabulous gallery of photos from past events, enjoy!

- This year the festivities start the 11th of February and run through  the 22nd.

The theme for this year is Nueva Era 2012 -  In some part, I imagine to dispel the myths that the world will end this coming December.   Mérida 's Carnaval is one of the top four Carnaval celebrations in Mexico and one of the 12 main Carnavals in all of Latin America.  Mérida, and its Carnaval is famous for its family friendly atmosphere. People of all ages come to celebrate and participate. In addition to the floats and parades, there are also a wide range of other activities; concerts, artistic performances, ... 
Carnaval is to Mexicans what Mardi Gras is to Americans. 

Beginning with the crowning of the Carnival King and Queen (Feb. 3, Deportivo La Inalámbrica at 8 pm) and ending on Ash Wednesday with the funeral of "Juan Carnaval",  this is reported to be one of the most popular ceremonies, unfortunately I've never seen it.  I tend to stay out of the events where the crowds are very tight and close.  Our first year here we got in a 'crush' of people, tight up against, pinned in, unable to decide my own direction and physically carried by the crowd; kinda freaked me out! At the burial of Juan the widow mourns his death and reads the proclamation that returns Mérida to its own normal devices. 

The Carnaval is a celebration for the Roman god Momo. In ancient Rome they worshiped a god named Momo, who according to legend was the god of "jokes and teasing, the god of madness with jokes and witticisms, a charmer to the exalted gods of Olympus. "Momo is a direct descendant of Chaos (abyss from which everything was to come), was the son of Hypnos (God of sleep) and Nyx (Goddess of night), his brothers are Eris (Discord), Moro (the destination), Tannate (death) and Apate (deception). Momo embodies the playful criticism, clever mockery, and usually is depicted dressed as a harlequin, hidden behind a mask. He also is symbolized by carrying a rod or staff on top of which is a shaped head doll, a symbol of madness. 

Both the King and Queen of the Carnaval participate, on 15 February in the Burning of the Bad Moods by burning a life size doll that represents the bad moods.  

Schedule for  Mérida  Carnaval 2012 

Friday February 3rd King and Queen of the Carnaval Coronation. It is also the night when the parade floats are presented. 

Saturday February 11th Comparsas Contest
Wednesday February 15th Burning of the Bad Mood
Thursday February 16th Children’s Parade
Friday February 17th Corso Parade
Saturday February 18th Fantasy Parade
Sunday February 19th Party Parade
Monday February 20th Regional Parade
Tuesday February 21st Battle of the Flowers Parade
Wednesday February 22nd Burning of Juan Carnaval 

The parade route starts at the Monumento a la Patria on Paseo de Montejo, then heads South ending up at the San Juna Park. Along the route you will find stands selling food and beverages, and lots of vendors of well to be honest mostly carnaval junk.  There are some vendors with some interesting items, but really, it is mostly sideshow junk; styrofoam alligators that you walk, light up headbands, candy necklaces....

We know many people who lament the coming of Carnaval, and every year there is talk of moving Carnaval to the Fair Grounds.   It's a part of Merida.  Many people plan their arrivals to coincide with Carnaval, although some, that live here, plan their absences during Carnaval.

I guess the difference is I live in an area relatively removed from the craziness. 

Read about Mazatlan's Carnaval here