Carnival on Cozumel is one of the best parties of the year. Not only are you at the circus, but you get to be a part of the circus. If someone knows of a more exciting time to be on the island, we would love to know about it! Massive floats decorated with bright colours and flashing lights pass by the crowded sidewalks. Every float creates it’s own commotion, with music ad entertainment provided. The locals show up early and stake out territory to watch the passing entertainment. Each float has it’s own theme. Everyone is transformed into a kid again. It is one of the most exciting days of the year. Carnival on Cozumel is a lot of fun and the smiles are infectious.
Even the crowd is involved. Hands are reaching out the passing floats requesting candy or beads. Many of the spectators have come in costume too. Parade floats are decorated with bright lights and flamboyant colours, led by marching bands and costumed dancers. What stands out is the smiles; everyone is having such a great time. We waded through the crowds, pushing forward past wide shoulders and other pedestrians.It’s hard to believe that this was 12 months ago.
Only a few weeks after this event, we would be going into complete lockdown on the island, which lasted 4 months. When we heard that this year’s event was cancelled, we were sad for the people of the island. While this must have been a tough decision, it was the right one. We would like to honour the tradition and share some of our favourite photos from the 2020 event on Cozumel.
Carnival in Mexico
Carnival has been celebrated around the world for hundreds of years. The tradition traveled from Europe to the Americas via colonialism and is also celebrated in far away places like India (Goa), Cape Verde (Africa) and across the Caribbean. In many places, it is a party worth planning a vacation around. Carnival is said to have originated during the medieval period in Venice, Italy. This tradition has grown to become a worldwide phenomena. After spreading across Europe in various forms, it was brought to Mexico by the Spanish.
In Mexico, it has merged with local traditions to become something very unique to the region. Today it is celebrated in over 200 cities in Mexico. Veracruz and Mazatlán are host two of the biggest and best known. The tradition goes back over 400 years in Campeche, with a celebration dating back as far as 1582.
The event on Cozumel may not be able to boast the same longevity, but it still dates back over 140 years, having begun in 1873. Every year the locals line the Malecon, the central oceanside boulevard in the center of the town. We were lucky to live on Cozumel and attended this incredible event twice. Because we learned from our mistakes in 2019, we found better places to take pictures from. We wore colourful clothing trying to fit in with the locals. It was one of the most memorable days of 2020.