People in my birth country are having a lot of fun today, and boy am I missing out on that joy. In the village(s) of my growing up, we did not have a tradition of celebrating carnival, but we had something way better. Flower festivals called La Rose (Woz – emblem the rose, colours pink) and La Marguerite (pronounced Magwit in our French creole tongue, colours blue). Today is the feast of La Rose, and it is a time of friendly but intense faux rivalry with persons affiliated with the other group. Much pomp and pageantry happening now through the streets, with kings, queens, soldiers, nurses, doctors, singers, musicians, judges, policemen – people dressed up in costumes portraying these professions. If you go, you will likely get arrested and thrown in prison for looking at the queen, even if you never did, and will not be let out unless you pay a fine of minimum $5 million the magistrate would insist – about 5 cents in my time – but the exaggeration is what makes the thing such fun and the fines are how fundraising is done. The drill of the soldiers of the group from my community was the funniest thing you could ever hope to see.
I tell you, there was a lot of community bonding and joy in my upbringing from events like these raucous, unruly in a good sort of way, festivals. These two festivals are unique to my home island, but when I studied in Barbados for a bit I discovered that island had a somewhat similar festival called the Landship. I still have a wish list to travel to far flung corners of the world to take in the festivals of various local populations. Unfortunately, my budget cannot afford travel at this time, not even to any place I dream of being to have long rambling talks with like-minded souls.
Here’s a small community group celebrating:
Here’s one of the more celebrated folk singers doing a number on La Rose: