Last weekend was Carnaval here in the Basque region of Spain. It resembles Halloween in that people are in costume and out in the street but they don't go door to door. There is lots of dancing and singing and celebrating though. In school, all the kids had to dress up. Each class was assigned a particular theme that met with an overall school theme and they performed dances in the school yard. This year's theme for Maia and Morgan's school was Music: Past and Present. Morgan's class dressed in some sort of a Russian themed costume, danced to a song from days of old and then to Thriller. Maia's class was something out of yesteryer with white wigs and long gowns. As you can imagine, she was not too thrilled about the wig part. Her class also danced to the sounds of Bach followed by Lady Gaga.
In the Streets
In addition to the celebrations in schools, the rest of the city celebrates in the streets all weekend. There were a number of parades and a variety of bands from today's music to traditional sounds and instruments, including both Spanish and French Basque regions. In the slide show you will see the gigantes y cabezudos (giants and big heads) which march through the streets. Notice the bags the big heads are holding. They use those to randomly wack people in the streets chasing both children and adults. Pictures were taken in Algorta, the town where we live, and Bilbao, the large city several metro stops away.
At night young people head out in costumes that are quite well done and enjoy carnaval celebrations into the wee hours of the morning. The costumes are often quite elaborate and done in groups to particular themes chosen by the groups. This continues for two weekends in a row and from what I can tell they look forward to it all year long in the same way as our kids look forward to Halloween.