Today is Fat Tuesday. They are partying in Rio (Carnival), New Orleans (Mardi Gras) and other places around the world — celebrating a night of excessive eating, drinking, and revelry before Ash Wednesday and the Lenten period of fasting leading up to Easter.
I have never been to Rio or New Orleans on Fat Tuesday, but having been on Ludwig Strasse in Partenkirchen (Bavaria), Germany, where it’s called fausching and involves cow bells, yodeling, and an excess of sauerkraut and beer, the processions and celebrations in Taxco are a tame in comparison. But what they lack in revelry and drunken debauchery, they make up for in duration filling the streets today, tonight, and every Friday leading up to the Thursday before Easter, when the really big procession begins (more on that in another post though).
There are stilt walkers, costumed dancers representing indigenous traditions, and revelers of all ages — from school children who get off school early to dress in costume and parade the winding cobblestoned streets to adults forming informal street bands wandering through the city serenading the neighbors.
I am told that the processions — both solemn and fanciful, the parties at the churches, the fireworks, and the bands playing are all to remind people of the sacredness of the season, which is really ironic when a ragtag band comes over the hill playing “Roll Out the Barrel.”