Return to Cabo Verde: Pt. I: Mindelo’s Mini-Carnival
No sooner had we left Cabo Verde in 2015, that Isabella and I resolved that we would return. And, soon.
So it was that a little more than a year on, we found ourselves, after an unplanned day and overnight stop in Sal, back in Mindelo, Sao Vicente.
Well, they must have known we were coming! Just as we arrived at our hotel, we heard the unavoidable buzz of music. “What’s happening?”, we asked. A ‘mini-carnival’, we were told.
‘Mini’ because this one did not have the pre-and-after events of the main carnival.
In addition to the street procession, there are side events including parties and concerts.
It seems the authorities on Sao Vicente wanted to give visitors in August, a little taste of what they missed by not also visiting in February, when the ‘real carnival’ takes place.
This affair, was a one-day event, showcasing some of the costumes and floats that had taken part in the event earlier in the year.
Needless to say, this was no time to check-in. We quickly deposited our luggage and ‘followed the sound of music’.
Luckily, it happened to be a mere shimmy and shake away from where we were.
The sights and sounds that greeted us were an absolute riot of colour and a constant drumming that reached right down in the gut; irresistible.
The locals had one up on us as they obviously knew all the songs, having probably sung them for most of the year. Thankfully, the composers had kept them short, sweet and catchy so it wasn’t long before we, too joined in the choruses.
As for the authorities, decision to give August’s visitors a ‘taste of carnival’?, my suspicion is that they are likely to find this completely vindicated and would have had many a visiting reveler checking their holiday plans for February 2017.
It is not a cop-out to say that a picture paints a thousand words and that all my writing could not convey what it was like to be there. I will simply leave you with these few photos from the evening and you will understand why we went with the music and didn’t stop until the music stopped!
The carnival is normally held 40 days before Easter on the Catholic calendar. The 2017 main dates are 28 February & 1 March.
See YouTube for a flavour