- To demonstrate that new brooms are sweeping clean in Bissau and that optimism has returned to Bissau-Guineans, the five-month celebrations of King Momo have started and plans for a carnival in February are already being made. The hope-bringing celebration is to be marked in every corner of the country, the government promises.
The Carnival 2005 arrangement already has its motto and its organisers. As of now, the only thing that is missing are sufficient funds to make the party become what it really should be; a shining event of hope and joy.
"Cultural diversity in a globalised world" is the motto of the carnival that is to go ahead in Guinea-Bissau in February 2005. After having been the responsibility of the National Council of the Youth for the last three years, this major manifestation of Bissau-Guinean culture this year is to be prepared by the State Secretary of Youth, Culture and Sports.
To organise this major event, Bissau authorities created an Independent National Commission with eight principal members and various sub-commissions. According to the Secretary of Youth, Culture and Sports, Marcelino Nuno da Silva, the 2005 carnival will be organised in "all villages, sections, sectors and regions of the country."
This, Mr da Silva held he could be sure of as everywhere were "the cultural roots of the Guinean people" are present, the carnival will not go un-noted. For that reason, the celebration in honour of King Momo in 2004 would be "an opportunity to show the true mosaic and the culture of the Guinean people." This, as the motto indicated, would not be lost in spite of globalisation.
The carnival in Bissau is usually an explosion of colours, masks and suggestive music, demonstrating a passionate mix of African and Catholic cultures. Many households invest comparatively large resources into the event, in particular into the elaborated masks and costumes.
After colourful, lively and loud parades, carnivals in Guinea-Bissau usually end up in local parties at "party zones" indicated by organisers. Here, local musicians make sure to entertain the crowds of all ages during the night. Poor and rich mingle and dance and new relations are made.
The Bissau-Guinean carnival yet has to become a tourist attraction as the country receives few international visitors. Next year's carnival nevertheless may be a good occasion for exotic travellers as Bissau enjoys more stability than for a decade.
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