This past weekend was Carnival in Cuyutlan and being our first, we didn’t know what to expect. Over the week we saw the kiddy fair rides being brought in (think 1960′s rides and safety!), the stage/deco being set up and the posters all over. It was basically 2 nights of party, shows, music and fun, but I found the most fascinating part being the Parade. It was perfectly organized and enjoyed without stress! When north americans get together for something like a Parade, we seem to have forgotten that it is all just supposed to be for fun. All the cooperate sponsorships, the media coverage and the crowd control results in possessiveness of “spots” and the crankiness of delays.
We could all take a minute, a deep breath and learn a nice lesson from the Mexican way (which I am assuming is also what a parade in NA would have been like 40 years ago!) :
1. The parade starts when it is ready to go and no one cares. The parade start time was listed as 17h, but it didn’t actually start until 19h. Apparently this is very normal and over the years has started anywhere between 17-20h. When we arrived at 17h they were still painting the floats! If this had happened in canada everyone would be cranky and upset at the organization, in mexico everyone was simply waited happily
2. People can be moved on the fly. As the floats approached, the security moved the crowd into place. Not just 1-2 people, I mean there were spectators set up 5 people deep directly in the road in front of the floats and they were just quickly and easily moved over as the floats were about to come by. No worries ya move or the truck is going to run you over. Your pick.
3. Floats and costumes are all hand made. The artistic ability, care and beauty put into both puts our parades to shame. It was beautiful and authentic.
4. No ads. Not one! Even though the parade was supported by local companies, there wasn’t one banner or ad in the parade. Such a nice change.
5. In canada floats would have to be made under a certain height for clearance on the electrical wires. Here in mexico, it is up to each float to have someone on board with a stick pushing the wires up over the float so they don’t get caught. Not a job I would volunteer for.
6. Time! Who cares? Any of the dancers or floats just stopped whenever they felt like it to do a little show. Everyone else just waits.
7. Three times lucky. The people follow the parade. It weaves through the street and so the people just move to watch it (again and again) from new locations. We saw it twice (over an hour each time!) and thought it was enough, but the happy crowd was racing over to the next street to see it again!
8. Got Gas? Apparently every year at least one truck pulling the floats runs out of gas or breaks down mid-route. We didn’t see it this year, but found the possibility entertaining.
9. Zero aggression. We’ve noticed this before being in crowds in Mexico. Everyone is very, very calm and the energy is that of a family gathering (assuming your family gets along). No one pushes, gets up set or tries to “claim” their space. People are close to each other, but not so close to touch. It makes me wonder why North American crowds can’t be this way?