Carnaval in San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize is one of the MOST UNIQUE celebrations in the country. There are two main things that make it FUN – Walking around town covered in paint and watching members of our community dance through the streets and entertaining residents on their porches.
It’s a cultural celebration that is almost 90 years old. According to folklore, don Juan Carnaval commenced the celebration prior to lent. There was a big festival in San Pedro featuring music, dancing, food and bacchanalia. The festive spirit continued for three days of Carnival from Sunday to Tuesday and on Wednesday the period of lent with fasting and sacrifice commenced. The celebrations are based from these folkloric and cultural beginnings.
There are a few things that only happen during Carnaval and would not be seen as ‘normal’ if it weren’t that time of the year. Taking a closer look at all the activity during the three days you come to think: “Yeah, this would definitely not be considered normal on any other day in La Isla Bonita!”
Men in Drag Dancing
It’s been like this since the beginning of the festivities. Men dressing up as women and having a great time dancing through the streets of town. The men’s comparsa, as it is called, make fun of current events (locally and internationally) with energetic, whimsical and sometimes rude musical parodies.
Nothing ‘ODD’ here; move along – just a man fixing his cleavage – jeje!
Carnaval Street Painting
Just a young man walking down the street with no shirt on and covered with paint! ‘Normal’
When you turn around and see that you are the next target, Yikes!
When your friends dress up like Pocahontas and stop for a quick costume check
Paint for Sale $5/per Bottle
Necessity if the mother of invention. When you can buy a small bottle of paint on the side of the street, you know its Carnaval. Nothing strange!
Buildings Wrapped Up in Plastic
Nope, they are not closed for business, just wrapped up so that the buildings don’t get ruined with all the paint flying around during Carnaval. Even the downtown clock tower gets protected.