Carnival in Bissau

Carnival in Bissau

Carnival in Bissau

During four days, you will cross savannahs, forests, rivers, lagoons, and meet very traditional people. Carnival in Guinea-Bissau is a great mix of Afro-Portuguese traditions and this is the most important holiday of the country. Guinea-Bissau celebrates an annual carnival in February, where each district prepares a giant mask that is entered in a competition. Every town and village in the country, each ethnic group, prepares to trek to Bissau to represent its culture, traditions, dances, etc. In the afternoon the Carnival explodes with thousands of colours, with the start of the parade of masks of each region and each “bairro” (city district) along the main thoroughfare of Avenida Amilcar Cabral. Drumming, sacred traditional masks, warriors wielding arrows and dressed in crocodile skin, contemporary papier-mâché masks, and not least, young women wearing just strands of pearls at the waist... The frenzied parade goes on for hours, making this carnival an unforgettable popular festival where traditional influences are mixed with the joie de vivre and the magic of Africa. A must-see spectacle! Regardless of the situation the country finds itself in, this tradition is still deeply rooted in Guinea-Bissau society. As the Carnival approaches, everyone jealously keeps their floats and masks hidden to prevent their ideas from being stolen, but by the end of the festivities one can easily go around neighbourhoods asking to see the masks of the previous year. Scary and vividly coloured, these gigantic creations are veritable works of art that would be worthy of an exhibition in the great capitals of the world. Now that’s an idea!

                        

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