Carnival parade in Praia, Cape Verde
There’s nothing like a carnival parade to stir up the emotions. There’s the anticipation among the spectators as they wait for the parade to arrive – can we see it in the distance yet? The excitement when finally it arrives, with all the colour and spectacle. The joy on the faces of the participants in the parade as they see the reactions. And the slight feeling of let-down when it has passed, seemingly so quickly after the long wait.
In setting this week’s Lens-Artist challenge, with the theme of Emotions, Patti reminds us of a quote from great photographer Edward Steichen: ‘Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face’. Anywhere that people gather to celebrate together is a rich source of such images.
Carnival in Praia
A couple of years ago, by chance we found ourselves in Praia, the small capital of Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands. on Mardi Gras. While carnival isn’t so much of a big deal on Santiago as it is on some of the other islands, notably Sao Vicente, it is certainly celebrated. This is mainly a local affair, not staged for tourists; the focus is a parade which takes place along Avenida Cidade Lisboa, the main road just north of the old centre. We weren’t sure about the start time (everyone we asked gave a different answer!) But by three o’clock we could hear music from our hotel room, so we set out to investigate.
Arriving at the side of the route we found people just starting to gather. There was music blaring and lots of food stalls, but no parade as yet. We found a good position beside the road to wait. After a while, peering through the growing crowds, we could just make out dancers congregating at the far end although it was clearly going to be some time before they set off. I amused myself meanwhile taking photos of some of the many children who had come along in fancy dress to watch the parade. Some of the kids looked excited, but many were bored by the long wait.
Eventually the dancers came towards us, but this was clearly just the prelude; it consisted of several groups each representing one of the occupations of Praia – chefs, musicians and others we were unsure of. They seemed proud to be showing off their occupations to the crowd.
After an interval another group of dancers appeared, accompanied by drummers. These seemed to represent the island’s history and African heritage. We found it odd to see black people ‘blackened up’ like this. And we couldn’t fathom at all the reason for the blue paint sported by others. But it was really colourful and lively, although a very tall male dancer with a long stick rather frightened the little girl next to me. I found out later that these characters probably symbolise the people’s fight against slavery, as similar figures appear in carnivals elsewhere. Those in blue represent devils, mock-beating the others with sticks in what is thought to be a recreation of ‘work-them-till-they-die’ slavery. Maybe the scared little girl understood more than I realised at the time?
There was another pause and then we saw some floats approaching. There were just two of them, but they looked super. The first of them was preceded by lively dancers all dressed in orange. It was decorated to look like three volcanoes, with those on it dressed in flame colours. The lady who stood at the top looked proud and happy to be there.
The second float was all in blue and silver, crowned with stars and with dancers again dressed in coordinating colours. It was preceded by a group of young girls dancing, who took their responsibilities rather seriously.
Then there seemed to be another large gap before anything else would come along. We decided to give up our front row positions to some of the later arrivals as we surely had enough photos by now! We strolled back through the crowds, stopping to take a final few photos as we caught up again with the floats which had parked up at the end of the avenue, their role in the carnival parade over for this year at least.
For the locals this had been an afternoon of heightened emotions; for us it had been a welcome opportunity to share this experience with them, as well as a wonderful source of colourful photos.
I travelled to Cape Verde in 2018
Thank you so much, I’m glad you like them!
Fantastic array of images and so many close-ups. I find it difficult to pluck up courage to get in close enough to get a good photo. My fault, I should ask, but ……….. yours are brilliant anyway.
Thank you for that compliment Maris 🙂 I find it difficult to ask tbh (my husband has fewer reservations and I often get to piggyback on his requests!) But I have a good zoom on my camera, so often take candid shots such as those of the kids here. Plus, in the case of these parade photos, people were dressed up and out to show off, so they were happy to see my camera or at least OK with it 🙂
Thanks for the fotos
You’re welcome, I’m glad you enjoyed them
Thanks for the photo’s
Didn’t get a chance to get Back to Praia this pass year.
Great to see our people doing something to celebrate.
It was a hectic year there
Thanks for capturing the beauty and happiness
Thank you so much David 🙂 I gather you’re a Cape Verde resident / national, so I especially appreciate your kind words about my photos 😀 I really liked Praia and will no doubt share some more image of the town, and of Santiago, in the future!
Who can resist a carnival! Loved the pictures and the commentary and you captured the emotions so well. Lovely post, Sarah!
Thank you Sheetal, I really appreciate the compliments and I’m pleased you enjoyed my post 🙂
Another great set of photos Sarah and nicely displayed.
Thank you Malcolm 🙂 I’m using Modula for my galleries now and I really like it!
I’ll take a look at it although another plugin has given me some grief recently and I’ve had to get rid of it.
I’ve had no issues with Modula to date
I’ve just had a look and it seems a good option. Have you got the free version?
I started with the free version which is pretty good, but I upgraded to pro to get more options. However I wouldn’t recommend starting with that as the free one is enough to be able to test whether it suits you and could well be fine for you longer term too
Another brilliant post, Sarah. That surely must have been some “Kodak frenzy”. Amazing colours.
Still not 100% sure who you are, but thank you very much for those kind words 😀
Wow. Fascinating, beautiful, COLORFUL!
Thank you John 😀
A marvelous set of carnival photos! And a photographer’s dream – as you say, they were all there to show off their spectacular costumes!
Thank you so much Leya, I appreciate the compliment 🙂
A really vibrant post. Great to wander through!
Thanks Margaret, I’m glad you enjoyed it!
Hi, Sarah. You picked a great occasion to capture a variety of emotions. Wonderful idea. The candid shots are marvelous.
Thank you Patti – yes, this was just the right occasion to suit your excellent theme 🙂 I do enjoy candid photography!
What a perfect opportunity for demonstrating emotions Sarah! Loved your images, especially those of the children. the outfits and colors are fantastic!
Thank you Tina – it was a great afternoon for photos with so much colour and activity around us. And no one seemed to mind being photographed as they were all there to show off their costumes 🙂