Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bom Carnaval!

C at 15 months playing with beads and a boeuf gras, Mardi Gras 2014

As we used to live in New Orleans, Mardi Gras has become a part of our emotional calendar. As we don't live in New Orleans anymore, not being there at Carnaval time is about as sad as being away from your family at Christmas. It just hurts.

We spent two Carnaval seasons in Luanda, which has nothing on New Orleans, but at least we got the day off work and a parade. But spending this time of year in Tallahassee is kind of the worst. No one in Tallahassee even knows it's a day unlike any other Tuesday. It makes me think of that inane Christmas song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" I walk around all day thinking to myself, "Do they even know it's Mardi Gras? Poor souls, they don't even know!"

Thank God for Publix! They have been making King Cakes the last few years, which makes me feel a little better about my homestate's cultural awareness. I brought one into my office on Lundi Gras and had to beg my co-workers to eat some - most of my female colleagues are on "diets". That's ok, I would say. Just start your diet on Wednesday, when Lent begins. I had to eat three pieces of it myself.

We did dress C in her crawfish onesie and let her play with some beads and one of the many boeufs gras I caught at the Rex parade a few years ago. Our church has a Mardi Gras dinner every year, so we took her there. But of course, it just isn't the same. One year soon we will take her somewhere with a real celebration like New Orleans or Rio or Venice. Most likely, just to Mobile.

Being in New Orleans changed us, and even though C hadn't been born yet, or even conceived of when we were living there, our time there will have an impact on her life. What I loved most about living there was how the city ran on an ancient calendar where Janaury 6th meant the beginning of this special season, and it swept you up along with it. Even being away from the city, we feel ourselves apart of these traditions, and C will learn them too.

The Luso-phone world has an ancient Carnaval tradition as well, and if she is to speak Portuguese, this is something she needs to know about. I don't want her to be simply bilingual, I want her to be bicultural as well. To understand that there are worlds outside of Tallahassee, and that to make Tallahassee a better place, you need to bring those worlds into our orbit - or hook our orbit to theirs.

C at 3 months, playing with the same boeuf gras, Mardi Gras 2013

Related Posts:

New Orleans Posts
Mardi Gras Posts
Carnaval em Luanda

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