Your days are numbered, clown!
King Momo — a papier machet clown — appears when Karnaval begins in the Dutch Caribbean islands where I used to live, and on Mardi Gras night, they blow him up to symbolize the end of Karnaval.
Karnaval runs from Epiphany until Fat Tuesday — and in those islands it’s marked by:
- Neighborhood jump-ups, where they run their Grand Parade float through the neighborhood with a band and everyone dances;
- A Children’s Parade on the weekend before the Grand Parade where all the parents dress their little ones up in garish costumes and ride them around on floats:
- The Lighting Parade on the Saturday before the Grand Parade where all the floats of the Grand Parade are lit by electric lights and run endlessly through the parade route from 11 at night until 3 in the morning;
- And the Grand Parade on Sunday before Mardi Gras where the whole island turns out in the glaring sun and tropical heat to cheer the floats, dance to the bands, drink and barbecue and party.
Then on Fat Tuesday, the night before Lent begins, Karnaval closes with a bang — in a blaze of fireworks and music, they blow up the clown called Momo. By far my favorite tradition.
They’ll be blowing that sucker up tonight on Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao … and tomorrow Lent begins. I’m thinking, now that Momo the King is being laid to rest, it’s a good time to slow down, refocus, and maybe start blogging again.
This blog first began as a Lenten discipline a long time ago, under another name. Maybe there’s more to be said. Now that the clown is dead.