For the last week Playa del Carmen has been full of parades, street parties and lots of samba music. Regardless of what we might have led you to believe this is not typical day-to-day behavior here. No, what it means is that it was Carnaval time! This year’s theme for Carnaval in Playa del Carmen was “Con Un Nuevo Corazon” or “With a New Heart.”
We’d heard that Cozumel has a pretty amazing Carnaval, but we couldn’t make it over to the island this year. And while it’s certainly not on the level of Rio de Janiero or New Orleans, Playa del Carmen still knows how to throw a party and put on a really good show. Typically celebrated right before Lent, Carnaval is rooted in the Catholic religion and is like the last gasp of debauchery and indulgence prior to fasting that occurs leading up to Easter. It usually lasts for a week and culminates on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. In some other cities I know that the the debauchery can be quite….debaucherous. Here in Playa all the events seemed pretty family friendly and tame (or it’s entirely possible that we’re just not cool enough to get invited to those parties). One of the highlights for all age groups was the almost nightly parades. Each evening several main streets were closed off and people lined up to watch the floats, dancers and performers go by.
The parades ended each night in the Municipal Plaza, kind of like the town square, where huge crowds gathered to dance – there was so much dancing – listen to music and watch performances and where they crowned the Kind and Queen of Carnaval.
There might be bigger and more extravagant parties out there, but the Carnaval in Playa del Carmen was fun, festive and just the right size for us.
So tell me, did any of you attend a Carnaval celebration in your area and how did it compare?