Photo of the Week presents      

Photo of the Week 288
"Carioca Carnaval"

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Photo: Maarten Zeehandelaar

Rio's carnival, also known as Carioca carnival, is probably the most famous carnival on the planet. In fame only equalled, perhaps, by the carnival in Venice. No end to the abundant dress-ups, marvellous costumes, or exhilarating music and dancing in the street (Bowie is, everywhere). Compared to those creatively exuberant events, carnival in North-Western Europe has, ever since I was a kid, seemed a little stale to me. Notwithstanding the truly grand parade in a city like Maastricht, carnival here has always seemed to me mostly an excuse for adults to act out: for stupor-drinking, substance abuse and extra-marital hanky-panky. The latter not a result of the sheer passion that is born out of dancing for 24 hours, nor of the tantalizing mystery of masquerade, but rather an aberrant act of disobedience (towards whom?!) enabled by sudden, alcohol induced, “bravery”.

However, lo and behold, in the best of Catholic traditions this is exactly what carnival is supposed to represent: a time to reverse social roles and suspend the usual inhibitions about undesirable behaviour. While I wonder how many people actually live through lent each year, with the same dedication they display during the carnival week, a newspaper clipping comes to mind.

The German police issued a warning prior to this year’s carnivalesque festivities, which was confirmed and publically presented by the Dutch authorities as well: one should not dress-up as a jihadi or a jihadist suicide-bomber….. this because the police fear they might mistake you for the real deal. The warning included cowboy costumes (revolver belt), but curiously enough, not to military costumes, at least according to the newspaper articles. Apparently not all social roles can be reversed and there are certain limits to the suspension of undesirable behaviour.

Given the bleak and dreary implications of the issued warning and the apparent need to issue it, I personally still think North-West European carnival is missing the point somewhere, no matter how anthropologically sound an execution of Christian traditions it may be.

Text by: Peter-Jan Vermeij

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About the participants of the Photo of the Week


Photo
of the Week

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project
www.//photooftheweek

Maarten
Zeehandelaar

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photographer
www.blueprintstudio.info

Peter-Jan
Vermeij

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author
www.6575.nl

Wibo
Kosters

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author
www.wibokosters.nl


Texts and photography –unless stated otherwise–
all rights reserved © 2010-2017 Maarten Zeehandelaar

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