Last weekend was the famed Carnival season in La Coruña, Spain. My host parents had invited me to go skiing with them in Asturias that weekend, and I had accepted, but at the last minute it was revealed that I would miss a great deal of class if I went, so I reluctantly elected to stay behind. At first I was disappointed I wasn’t going to go with them, as I usually enjoy skiing a great deal, but that was before I realized that Carnival was such a big deal in Galicia. In America this time of the year goes by the name Mardi Gras, but in Galicia it is simply Carnival and it represents a time of celebration before the solemn days of lent. The festivals stretched for a much longer time than anything I was used to in the United States, where parties typically occur on designated days. But the festivities seemed virtually non-stop from Thursday night, February 23, until Tuesday morning, February, 28. There was some down time in between, so as to make sure no one died of exhaustion, but it was still a series of late nights unlike anything I have seen before.
As is tradition, the streets glowed with the lights to brighten the winter months. The Spanish people packed every corner of the city, every one of them wearing incredible costumes that would trick any outsider into believing it was October, 31. Playing along, I donned a red vest in to make myself look like Marty McFly, and to my surprise many of my Spanish friends recognized my costume immediately. In true Spanish fashion, the celebrations lasted through the night, and people of all ages had a great time. It was interesting how Carnival is more like our Halloween in the sense that people dress and act identically. On actual Halloween, people universally wore scary makeup and bloody clothes, but on Carnival people were goofy like we are used to. The best difference that I can draw between the two holidays, is that while Halloween only lasts that one night, Carnival almost spans an entire week. I think I might have been converted, maybe I can convince America to draw out Halloween for a week too.
James O'Connor '18