I have not experienced Carnival in Brazil nor Trinidad , two locales that I have heard are massive celebrations, boasting gorgeous costumes and choreographed dancing through the streets. My heart filled with joy when I saw on the US news this week Haitians filled with happiness, able to sway to the sounds of their Caribbean beat for the first time since the earthquake last year.
On several occasions I have participated in Mardi Gras in New Orleans . Although drinking alcoholic beverages is common while walking the streets, whether as part of a parade or just an observer, the crowds are lively but peaceful. Occasionally an inebriated soul will be asleep on the street or breasts may be bared, a ritual there, to acquire their beloved beads, but not once have I witnessed people attacking one another in any form in New Orleans.
In the mid seventies in San Pedro, I will never forget, a previous owner of Ambergris Lodge, a seventy year old woman hopping on a three wheeler with eggs and flour in hand. She went about town joining in the innocent fun of "painting" others. Now 30 plus years later our town has turned into a free for all, an almost violent one at that.
It is hard to imagine that in the height of the tourist season we can play a game called Carnival and unsuspecting tourists as well as non participating locals cannot even enter the town of San Pedro without the fear of being painted. Businesses take time and money to cover their signage, windows etc. and those are defaced as if it is the God given right of those who participate to do so.
If Carnival is so exciting to those who continue to want to "paint", then why not cordon off the football field and let them have their fun. Would that satisfy them or is it the hunt and destruction that do so?
Why are we as a community unable to control this three day craziness? Why not make it into something to be proud of? The Town Board sends a letter annually for schools to participate in Comparsas. I would love The Island Academy to do so and in doing so learn about our culture. But......I will not go to town.
San Pedro Town, Belize