Photos and text by: Pacho Manrique
The most bizarre of funeral wakes is the only way to describe Carnival’s last parade in which the whole city mourns the loss of Joselito Carnaval, a fictional character who embodies the spirit of the carnival, and who naturally dies on the eve of the last day of festivities.
Joselito is dead, his women (a lot of them actually cross-dressed men) fight over his corpse, drowning in tears, each claiming to have enjoyed the best of his affections, some even parade around pregnant from his lovechild. Most characters remain the same, in spite of wearing black as a sign of respect. The Queen is the most prominent of all widows, and makes sure to hold her rank above all of Joselito’s bimbos.
At last, with the setting sun as background , all paraders enter the house of Carnival, as if by magic returning to a toy chest at the end of a wonderful four day long spell.
Joselito and the Phoenix are both destined to rise again from the ashes, but regretfully not before a full year has gone by. This doesn’t seem to discourage his loyal supporters, the populace of a whole city which will anxiously await his return.