Friday, February 16, 2007


I've never been much into Carnival. The noise, the crowds, the heat, the sweat, what's so funny about all this?
But when I was a child Carnival was different. Or was it me?
Almost every year we spent Carnival in Campinas, at my grandparents' or at my aunt's house. My mother sew our costumes herself, made of satin, always very well made. Sometimes we'd go to the children's ball at Dom Quixote, a small club of which my uncle was a director (I think). But usually we had fun on the street, with our many cousins, throwing confetti and serpentines (paper streamers) on each other. Not to mention the lança-perfume (a perfumed ether spray). Yes, children playing with lança-perfume was the most natural thing, that golden can, Rodo Metálico brand. And it was the most innocent game, we would spray each other to feel the cold sensation of ether, I never saw anyone even thinking about inhaling it directly...
But the highlight of Carnival was the corso at night. From the large window on the front bedroom of the house on Andrade Neves street, we would watch the big parade, with decorated convertibles, people in rich costumes, floats from the most diverse groups... One of my favorites, every year, was the float of some sort of hunting club, that was full of stuffed animals - unthinkable nowadays...
I was very small, my memories are few and not detailed. But I know Carnival was innocent enough to allow small children to have fun without fears or traumas. As everything else was innocent.
What is Carnival today, after all? A media event? Just another long holiday? A concentration of desperate joy of people who know that afterwards they'll have hundreds of Ash days?
Are there still places where children play with confetti and serpentines on the streets? What about the parade, where does it pass today? And the songs, who writes them, who sings them?
Although I begun by saying I'm not into Carnival, I miss those of my childhood. Or is it the childhood itself that I miss?

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