Photos and text by: Pacho Manrique
Last Sunday, February 19th, Carnival displayed the best of its essence for a paramount audience, the city’s children. Entirely fitting to the peak parade of the carnival’s schedule aimed for kids, performing folkloric groups of every traditional dance and costume presented their youngest members to an equally young and enthused public.
Starting at 11:00 am from 70th Street and 53rd Avenue, defying the excruciating heat of a merciless Sunday afternoon’s sun, the little paraders danced and smiled all the way down to the House of Carnival in Barrio Abajo, entertaining other children who were attentively watching them, perhaps even dreaming of one day parading themselves.
Some illustrious adult guests, such as Totó la Momposina, made their appearance amongst a legion of infants commanded by their Queen and Momo King, in a parade that each year resembles more and more its grown-up counterpart, thankfully still minus the obnoxious overload of corporate advertising reserved for the Vía 40 parades.
In this microcosm that replicates carnival at a smaller scale, several things were to be found: perchance the most important was the active preservation of joy, tradition, legacy and, thus, the world heritage status through the next generations; but at the same time the confirmation of the age-old, but very true, cliché that children mimic adult behavior, and by the looks of the amount of trash thrown by the audience to the ground, while we’re doing a bang up job at teaching them how to celebrate life, we’re not doing so much when it comes to improving it’s quality.