Carnaval de Ponce is celebrated each year and coincides with Mardi Gras of New Orleans and Carnevale of Venice and Rio de Janeiro. It is hosted in the beautiful city of Ponce and is said to have been in existence for about one hundred and forty five years. The tradition of this carnival includes parading masked figures called “Vejigantes”, So called because they carry "vejigas" or ballooned animal bladders that are painted bright colors. The Vegijantes are diabolical creations. They are masked horned figures who try to frighten everyone and who come around to beat the unsuspecting bystander with his vejiga. Of course, it doesn’t hurt because it is like a balloon. With the tradition of Carnival everyone tries to have a great time eating and drinking all night. Music abounds and there are chants to encourage the Vejigante characters to dance and make merry. "Vejigantes a la boya, pan y cebolla" just one of the traditional chants. There is Plena music everywhere and parades for the king and queen of the Carnival. The very last day of the festivities, Shrove Tuesday, the "Entiero de la Sardina" takes place. This is a mock funeral with drag queens as mourners and a chorus of folks crying for the death of the Sardine. The sardine is buried because, for the next forty days begins Lent, a time of fasting and abstinence. No more meat we’ll have to eat sardines from now on. So the last night of Carnival is delirium and crazy fun.
For tomorrow we have to fast!
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Click on the moving ball to see a painting about Plena de Ponce