Thursday, July 2, 2009

Calypso Carnival in El Callao

Venezuela is a country of parties, fiestas and dances. Countless fiestas take place all over the country, from individual celebrations of local patron saints to the gaitas and parrandas of Zulia state at Christmas, the Dancing Devils of Yare and Chuao during Corpus Cristi and the African drum dancing in honour of Saint John the Baptist on 24 June.
One small town that beats them all is El Callao, a centre for gold mining in Bolivar State that comes alive every year for four days during carnival to the vibrant sounds of calypso and soca.
El Callao also boasts a colourful cast of characters who accompany the comparsas (floats with a sound system and a themed crowd of dancers).
Las Madamas - Women wearing colourful dresses and turbans of 19th century Caribbean.
Medio Pintos - Boys and men covered in tar or paint or any other black sludgy stuff they can get their hands on. The idea is that you give them a coin called a "medio" (1 Bolivar Fuerte will do these days) or they paint you with sludge.

In 2010, the Callao carnival will be held from 13-16 February.

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