The Mardi Gras parade is always on Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and the forty days of Lent. It is sometimes called Fat Tuesday. Also called Shrove Tuesday. Mardi Gras comes from the Latin words carne and vale. Carne is meat and vale means farewell. So it is a celebration to fatten up, eat meat, party and let it all hang out before the forty days of Lent.
This is the biggest parade of the year and the most exciting. At least that is my experience with it. People of all ages are involved. Mexicans and Expats participate. Above is Access Lake Chapala’s float, making it through the narrow street.
The photo above is the front of Access Lake Chapala’s float.
Access Lake Chapala is very involved in community activities. Every year they have a float. This float was centered around unicorns. Fairies and elves watched over by the unicorns.
The people in the above float had an island theme going on. It was hot morning. They were smart to figure out a way to ride around half undressed. The plants also helped to keep them cool.
Sayacas are men dressed like women. Sayacos are men dressed like old men. Sayacas can also be women dressed like women. Or little girls or boys dressed like women.
Okay, these days, anyone can become a Sayaca. Just put on a big dress, inflate the front and back, paint the face and carry a purse filled with flour to throw on people. (Sayacas are also spelled Zayacas.)
The Sayacas did such great jobs on their costumes that I couldn’t tell if they were men or women. I could tell that they were ready for action with purses filled with flour. I quickly learned not to look them in their eyes. That was just an invitation for them to throw flour on me.
The above float was filled with clowns and balloons.
Every parade or celebration needs a queen. Of course, she must be beautiful. The one above is no exception to this rule.
A Sayaca and Sayaco were leading the horses at the end of the parade. The child looked like a Sayaco in training.
The girls in the above photo were about to jump onto an Egyptian float. They stopped long enough to be photographed. The little boy dressed in blue refused to turn toward the cameras.
The Sayaca in the above photo was posing for a professional photographer. That photo will probably be for sale soon.
The photographer, Dane, is very good at getting people to pose for him. This will most likely become one of his fine black and white prints that he sells online. I see Dane taking photos at every event here. But we both are always too busy taking photos to stop and chat.
I liked watching the unprofessional photographers photographing each other. The girl on the left looks like she has had enough with posing. I guess her friend didn’t have Dane’s special talent of putting subjects at ease.
These band members were resting before their long walk into town. The parade goes down Constitution to six corners and then back to the Ajijic plaza. That is a long, hot walk. Especially carrying a tuba. The building behind them is one of the oldest buildings in Ajijic, built in the 1500s.
I am guessing the person in the black mask is the father. He is helping the child straighten out the rubber mask.
I don’t know which is more beautiful, the woman or the horse.
I always enjoy seeing the horses as they come down the street in a group. Ajijic has a large and active equestrian community. They are represented in every parade here.
I only saw two escaramuza riders in this parade. I missed all the becuaiful dresses.
Above is another Escaramuza rider. They always ride sidesaddle.
As the horses travel along the parade route, there are always ones that dance. I have watched cowboys spend hours with their hourses, getting them to dance.
Check out the tiny girl on a horse in her father’s lap in the far left of this photo.
I was at the beginning of the parade, before the flour throwing reached it’s peak. I wanted to protect my camera but I missed out on a lot of the fun. The two girls in the above photo managed to get floured early.
I was finally at the end of the parade. There were a few straggling cowboys. But it was getting too hot for me to wait for them to pass by. The couple in the above photo were interested in something in the parade. I was more interested in them.
I don’t know what the woman was pointing out to her husband but they seemed to be enjoying their day. I hope you will watch next year’s parade if you are in town. As I wrote at the beginning of this article, it is the biggest and most exciting parade of the year!