In Ericeira we also like to play at Carnaval. A few years ago Carnaval time was much more lively. At the weekend which preceeds Carnaval Tuesday ( Pancake Day in Britain) there were always lots of people in fancy dress or simply with exaggerated make-up wandering in the streets, blowing whistles and going from one coffee shop to another or one tavern to another having a drink, playing tricks or just showing off their Carnaval masks. They were welçomed with great joy and between laughter we tried to discover their identity. It is also traditional to make and eat “filhós”, a small fried cake covered in sugar and cinnamon. On Saturday, Sunday afternoon, Monday and Tuesday there were always masked balls in the local football club’s installations, which later passed to the new larger installations of the local fire corporation.
Today none of this takes place!
Times have changed, noone will open their door to strangers and there are no longer any dances. The older, better known celebrators have departed for ever.
However, we still continue to play at carnaval time. Friday, Saturday and Sunday were days of great fun. The local nursery and primary schools filled the streets with their pupils, all dressed in lovely costumes made by parents and obeying special themes. With the beautiful weather we are having this year it was a joy and pleasure to watch the children in their own special parade. Each class chose its theme and we were able to see marine animals, rockets, astronauts and many others. They were all so happy and proud to be a part of the event.
Some of the musicians from our local band also spent a few days parading the local streets and playing typical carnaval tunes. As they walked around the town they were joined by local people, who still remember the former days and enjoy participating in these activities.
It’s over! There will be more next year! The government took away the public holiday , but commerce has to continue. Shops need to sell fancy-dress costumes and the restaurants need to sell their dishes. It’s up to the local people to animate Ericeira and attract more visitors.