Mazatlan’s International Carnival is a six-day, multi-event celebration overflowing with live music, folklore, dance, entertainment and traditional costumes. Held since 1898, Mazatlan’s 115th version of Carnival is an all day, all night fiesta with something for everyone, the third largest in the world. But the Northern Pacific coast, beach resort town and seaport is in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, where the U.S. State Department urges caution to travelers.
Saying extra caution is in order, especially late at night and in the early morning, the most recent State Department warning on Mexico also cautions U.S. citizens to defer nonessential travel to the rest of the state of Sinaloa.
Still, in the safe city of Mazatlan itself, there are several elements of Mazatlan’s International Carnival not to be missed.
Kings and Queens crowned
Today, the “King of Joy” has taken the place of yesteryear’s “Ugly King” of Carnival’s origin to promote the positive spirit of the Mexican event. Another major event of Carnival, the coronation of the King of the Happiness, Queen of The Floral Games, Infantile Queen and Queen of Mazatlan’s International Carnival 2013 happen at a feast, accompanied by a live show performed by Mexico’s best schools in dance.
Ritual of the “Bad Mood Burning,” the Naval Battle
A symbolic ritual accomplished by the incineration of a marionette, the Bad Mood Burning washes away all ill feelings from the Mazatlan shores. The event has its origins in the defense of the city during the attempted invasion of Mazatlan in 1864. During the popular nighttime event, Mazatlan’s sky is filled with fireworks, lasers and sound.
The most highly-anticipated event of the Carnival of Mazatlan is the carriage float parade. Thousands of local residents and visitors head to the waterfront for a parade of fantasies conceived by carriage float creator Rigoberto Lewis, some of which we see in this photo gallery:
The Children’s Ball
The Children’s Grand Ball brings the children of the city-harbor in on the Carnival festivities with an event created just for them. Escorted by their parents, the children compete in the Funny Costume contest, wearing costumes they designed themselves in a high-spirited pageant.
The International Pacific Queen Contest
The participation of the Queens from Central and South America and the United States adds to the international flavor of Mazatlan’s Carnival festivities. The visiting beauty queens participate in the spectacular Carnival parades, and also compete for the title of Pacific International Queen.
Running from February 7 through 14, Mazatlan’s Carnival is just one reason to visit. Here are a few more:
[Photo Credit- Flickr user Alaskan Dude]