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El Carnaval de Campeche, México

woman with el carnaval costume on

You’ve surely heard of Mardi Gras in New Orleans or Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but did you know that Carnival is celebrated in many pockets of the world? Carnival or Mardi Gras (which simply means ‘Fat Tuesday’ in French) is a celebration during the time before the season of Lent in the Christian calendar, usually toward the end of February. Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter, traditionally a time of repentance and fasting or giving something up. Because of this, the time leading up to Lent has become a time of celebration and indulgence – desires of the flesh, so to speak. Carne means ‘in the flesh’ in Latin, or ‘flesh’ in Spanish…hence, carnival (or carnaval in Spanish).

Campeche, Mexico boasts a Carnival celebration that is fun and vibrant without being too overwhelming and crowded. Campeche, a breath-taking coastal city on the Gulf coast in the Yucatán Peninsula, has a week and a half celebration of Carnival that is a feast for the senses: sounds of concerts and parades, colorful costumes and dances, smells of street food and the beautiful coronations of various young “queens”! It is the perfect place for adults and children alike to experience Carnival without the waves of tourists that flock to places like Rio or New Orleans. With a five-day weekend and temperatures in the 80º’s, kids can enjoy the festivities during the day and parents can dance the night away. Campeche is also one of the safest cities in Mexico, so everyone can simply relax and have a great time.

El Carnaval de Campeche offers something for everyone. It is kicked off with the Funeral del Mal Humor, the death and burning of any “bad moods” represented by a figurine. This symbolizes all problems being laid to rest and the commencement of all happiness, celebrated with traditional dances. During the celebration, children enjoy seeing two of their peers crowned king and queen, as well as the many adult coronations, including the “ugly king”. The queen is far from ugly, however, and dressed to the nines with a dress often upwards of $25,000 (yes, U.S. dollars). On Wednesday, it’s Girls’ Night Out when the local ladies dress in costume and attend a performance and dance the night away, raising money for charity. On Saturday, Sábado de Bando, colorful floats parade down the streets and every dance troupe dons glittered costumes to perform in the evening.

Would you like to experience travel to Mexico on a deeper level, beyond the resorts of Cancún? EdConnect Immersive Travel offers a taste of Carnaval on our Adult Group Adventure to Campeche and Mérida, Mexico in February of 2024. This experience offers the glitz and glamor of Carnival as well as the magical Mayan pyramids of Uxmal, the hidden cenotes (natural cave pools) of the Yucatán Peninsula, and of course, the internationally-recognized regional cuisine. Not only will you experience these sights and flavors, but you can opt in for a three-night homestay with a local family or a cooking experience with Amanda’s (co-founder of EdConnect) mother-in-law. EdConnect Immersive Travel always promises a unique, immersive experience – connecting you through language and culture, engaging you with the locals.

Photo Credit: Ceci Soberanis, Biby Rabelo


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