The Bize-Minervois Carnival or ‘Mardi Gras’ started March 4th this year from Thursday till the early hours of Monday morning. It is a 4 day period of celebrating, music and dancing in the evenings and a parade on the Sunday daytime where people dress up in a variety of costumes, no particular theme anything goes. This year we had the Smurfs, vampires, drag queens, medieval attire and so on – you name it! There were various floats paraded around the village, a Pope figure comes to mind, a Smurf house etc. but the main one this year was Elvis or (possibly Prince), think I remember Elvis songs playing. Anyway after being paraded around the village a few times he was escorted down to the river and burnt and then they had a huge bomb fire with him! Poor Elvis. It was hilarious to see.
Carnival is a joyous and free period where the rules of normal life are suspended. The atmosphere is fantastic and everyone is merry drinking, dancing and eating.
The meaning behind it all I have now found out is that it is a Christian festival period marking the end of the ‘week of seven fat days’ formerly called carnal days. The period during which people feast before Ash Wednesday (March 5 this year), marking the beginning of the 40 days of Lent.