Sunday, March 01, 2009

Nice carnaval- city life

Place Massena during the Nice carnaval - the sky was filled with confetti , streamers and thousands of spectators.
One of the statues in Place Massena

Lamp post and confetti
The carnval king - Roi des Masquerades. The cat mask in his hand is a reminder of last year's giant cat king. The king is ceremonially burned to mark the end of carnaval but tehre are often reminders of the previous king to symbolise the idea that 'the king is dead, long live the king'

The Queen float - towering above everyone in Place Massena. Her skirt was made up of a carnaval mask and underneath there were lots of teenagers dressed in venetian carnaval costimes. Its hard to appreciate how immense the float is , but the jester characters also attached to her skirts are much beigger than humans.
This band member's helmet is covered in silly string .

There have been some calls to ban silly string at the carnbaval since it makes such a mess , can stain costumes ,and not forgetting the chemical propellants and empty cans and lids.
I'm not sure if a ban is possible though i am not a great fan of the stuff.

A couple of bizarrely masked and costumed stilt walkers with the Queen in the background.
A traditional carnaval group playing strangely shaped natural gourd instruments.
Originally carnaval costumes were simple- a bag or stocking hat , a face blackened with soot and a gourd instrument to make a noise. Very different from the elabroate costumes today.
This balloon was controlled by people using ropes - it was raised and lowered while a woman dangled and spun above the crowd.
A closer view of the balloon woman acrobat. She posed in various gymnastic positions whilst dangling from the balloon.
The aftermath - tons of confetti, streamers and silly string containers cover the ground. You can seen part of the tram track is covered in debris. During the carnaval processions, the tram doesn't cross Place Massena.
The clean-up crew dressed in fluorescent yellow. Its amazing how quickly they get the carnaval route looking normal again .


Magpie Magic said...

Cool pictures, I especially like those of the floating confetti. What are the originals of the carnival in France? In Germany, especially the South of Germany, it's 'driving out the Winter' and most of the costumes include rattles and other 'noisy instruments'. In the North of Germany carnival is more about floats and political satire than the witches and ghost of the South.

Alison Ashwell said...

A pagan driving out of winter is the origin of the festival - lots of noise and colour to frighten away evil

the first written mention of a carnaval in Nice is from 1294. It became an organised event rather than a more spontaneous thing about 1870

paintandink said...

These pictures are marvelous!