A Carnival – less 2021

Carnival Carioca in Ecuador
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This year is very different from what we are used to, and many things are being either canceled or modified. Carnival is one of them. This major event in many Latin American countries had to adapt to current circumstances. In the country of carnival, Brazil, it couldn’t be canceled, so it was decided to postpone the carnival and organize the famous samba parades in the sambodromes in July. In Brazil like in other Latin American countries there are, however, some online events to try and compensate the absence of parades. There might not be any parades or parties this year but in the mean time, Monday and Tuesday (15th and 16th) are still public holidays, that hasn’t been modified, so what do people do with these days off ?

In a regular year, you will see many people attending or participating in the festive and colorful carnival parades. But even in a regular year, not every one is drawn to the parades. Usually, many people decide to make the most out of these 4 days off (including the weekend), and take a trip. Panamanians will go on a short cruise. People from all Latin America will fly to the USA, especially to Miami or Orlando, to enjoy a few days of shopping and/or visit Disneyland. This year, however, traveling abroad is not really an option.

Another popular destination and activity every year is the beach. A lot of people spend their 4-day-long weekend at the beach, bathing in the day, partying at night. It is not uncommon to see beaches filled with people and coolers filled with beers or other alcoholic drinks. It’s a fact, carnival is always pretty boozy! As of today, most of the Latin American countries have decided to reopen the beaches, but so far there were still strong restrictions, including the ban of food and drinks on the beach itself. In Ecuador for example, beaches have been open again until 5pm for a few months now, but just before the carnival break, it was announced in many seaside places that bars and nightclubs were allowed to resume their activities. These were local, not national decisions, so the situation is diverse of course. As a consequence, as if it were a regular year, many people flock to the seaside, and beaches have been quite full since the beginning of the weekend.

Finally, every year some people decide to just stay home and avoid crowds. This decision is quite popular this year, but it doesn’t keep people from partying and enjoying the traditions of carnival ! Here in Ecuador there have been several fireworks over the last few days, and sales of cariocas are steady. Carioca is a sticky foam that you spray around on all people within reach, and even though you are just with your family, it’s still a lot of fun and you can get even wetter!

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