Saturday, November 24, 2007

Carnival of lights

terrifying elephant again

real human

men riding seahorses

Last week the carnival was in town, and I braved the cold and the crowds for the first time in years, to go see it. The carnival stems from the Gunpowder Plot...

The original celebrations featured a large bonfire built out of a large wooden boat to which around 100 tar barrels were set alight... The tradition was stopped however due to the lack of old wooden boats to burn and because a number of good boats were thrown onto the fire and burned by revellers.

Effigies or 'guys' representing the gunpowder plot instigators were added to the fire by local groups of people known as 'gangs'. This turned into a procession which became more elaborate over the years; featuring costumes and music until this became a key feature of the event.

Today, carnivals feature a parade of floats which are called carts and have people called ‘masqueraders’ who dance on them.

Sometimes it's hard to remember that carnival doesn't happen all over the country like this, and it's actually probably worth getting out the scarf and gloves to go and watch it.

lots more photos on my flickr page
Bridgewater Carnival
Somerset Carnivals

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