Carnaval is a 5-day celebration before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. The Jardin (Main Square) of San Miguel is lined with vendors selling papier-maché flowers, accordion-legged clowns called payasitos, and cascarones, eggs filled with confetti, glitter, or flour. Children run wild cracking cascarones on the heads of friends and anyone whose head they can reach. Confetti, glitter, and egg shell gets into hair and clothes and covers the streets. The morning following Carnaval, street sweepers clean the streets and the Jardin walkways. The celebration continues with more confetti, glitter, and egg shell that evening.
But Mexicans don’t need Carnaval as a reason to celebrate. Mexico has a vibrant street life. It is fun to watch and it is impossible not to join in the festivities. There are street vendors selling balloons, baskets, and dolls. Food vendors sell tacos, helote (corn on the cob), and ice cream. There are street artists and always, always mariachi.
This evening there is a wedding at the church of San Francisco. In the square in front of the church, a wedding photographer photographs the bride and her father posing next to the fountain decorated with white roses. People in the square take pictures and shout congratulations. The bride and her father pass through the crowd of onlookers, pleased and proud, as they enter the church. Invited guest or not, everyone is a part of the celebration.
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