It’s been eight years since downtown Mérida celebrated Carnaval. Anyone who has moved to Mérida after 2013 probably hasn’t seen it.
Mark Callum, who for 31 years worked in production at the British Broadcasting Corp., remembers how it used to be. And he applied his professional skills to compile video clips from between 2007 and 2013, the last year Carnaval wound its way along the Paseo de Montejo.
Opinion is still divided on whether the move was positive for the city. Business leaders found the parade bad for business and drove Carnaval to the fairgrounds. But Callum definitely misses the old days.
“I have so many amazing memories of the sheer joy of all ages and social classes mixing together in peace and enjoying the free fun,” Callum said. “Unlike other carnivals, no stabbings, no murders, police patrolled efficiently and there was a unique joie de vivre. Since we have no Carnaval this year I thought it was time to let those who never experienced it see it for themselves!”
“It’s an affectionate look back,” says Callum, who took seven days to transfer and edit the videos and mix the sound. “A labor of love inspired by the happy memories.”
What is Carnaval?
Carnaval (Spanish for “carnival,” of course) is celebrated each spring in different destinations throughout Latin America. Its dates align with the Christian calendar. It is held the week before Ash Wednesday (miercoles de cenizas) which marks the beginning of Lent, the period of austerity before Easter. Carnaval festivities reach a peak the day before, which may be referred to as Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or Martes de Carnaval.