Sunday, 28 December 2008


On Christmas evening, after all the folk had gone home, the delicious sorbet had been made and eaten and the sorbetier put away until next time, I got on with washing up to the sound of Michael Buble. But what were these unfamiliar sounds in the background? Certainly not an additional drumming part to "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas". And who was playing that trumpet? Surely not Mr Buble?

I went down to investigate and we were thrilled a few minutes later to see the first live rehearsals for the carnival. A group of about 20 or 30 people (all in Father Christmas hats) came marching past playing a variety of drums, shakers, trumpets and singing enthusiastically. They even had a man puffing out smoke, and in the dark it made for a very ethereal sight. Shortly a second group came past with a slightly different style of music. Both had a frontman a few metres ahead, warning the traffic to give way.

This will be a familiar sight for the next couple of months, as the various groups practise on Sunday afternoons about the town. Then in February, the real thing will hit the island, with costumes to dazzle and music to deafen. There will also be a huge puppet of Vaval, the King of the Carnival, who is dressed in black and white and carried around at the front of the procession before being burnt at the end, to show that carnival is over for another year. Reminds me of Guy Fawkes, but I haven't found out who Vaval was originally.

1 comment:

Mum said...

Just looking at some internet sites about Carnival in Guadeloupe.
Creole is Kannaval evidently.
they process now and take collections to help finish their costumes.I even found a video with the smoke in it - on Youtube.
I've just realised its when we'll be there - thats so exciting!!