Yesterday, Caitlin, our friend Becca, and I stumbled upon a festival of Carnaval. I was confused, not only because Angers is so rarely a festive place, but because I always thought that Carnaval was a Mardi Gras thing, and Mardi Gras 2011 took place three weeks ago.
Apparently, festivals of Carnival/Carnaval have roots in Greek tradition, when the festival of Carnaval consisted of lavish worship of Dionysus, the god of wine. Throughout most of the world, the tradition now coincides with Mardi Gras, the last day of extravagance before the solemn period of Lent. I think it’s one of the things the Catholic church took over to force Pagans to convert, you know, like how Christmas came to be celebrated in mid-winter and what is up with the Easter Bunny?
Wikipedia failed to clear up why Angers celebrates Carnaval mid-Lent. I’m glad they do, though, because the weather was gorgeous yesterday and I was in serious need of a pick-me-up in terms of my attitude about this town.
Downtown was even more packed than it usually is on Saturday afternoons. Most of the children were wearing adorable costumes. It was weird to see so many people dressed up when it’s not October!
Unfortunately, my computer had an unprecedented spasm and deleted most of my photos, but I was able to recover a few.
Défile in French, by the way, means parade.