Dragons, gypsys, geishas and lady bugs filled our backyard as everyone dressed up in their favourite costume to celebrate the coming of spring. “Mr Carnival” was Cécile’s idea, a day to say goodbye to winter, along with all the bad thoughts and feelings that came with it, and to welcome spring, new ideas, beauty and life. I borrowed a brilliant blue African dress from Cécile, which Bienvenu’s sister brought her as a gift.About 20 or more people came, including children, and brought their own specialty plate, making it a very interesting and delectable potluck.
After lunch, everyone gathered outside and made “Mr Carnival”, the representation of winter. We each took a piece of paper and on it wrote a negative feeling or thought, then stuck it to Mr Carnival, then had a beautiful fire, burning him along with the negitive feelings. Meanwhile, I introduced everyone to the roasted marshmellow, as nobody here has even heard of it, let alone tasted one. Since it was a big hit I brought out the chocolate and buscuits (it was impossible to find real grahm crackers) and made smores, which to no surprise were also a big hit. I was very proud to be able to share a delicious tradition from my part of the world.
This week was the community’s turn to celebrate. With a theme of “Around the World”, Coutras (the next closest town) held it’s own carnival with a parade, dancers and a concert. The parade had floats representing different parts of the world, and the dancing involved children and adults alike, varying from line dancing, to salsa and even a bit of hip hop. The concert was the same idea with songs and music from Asia, the Middle East, America and Europe.
After the carnival we all (the family, myself and Judith) went to a local crêperie. Cécile had organized a couchsurfing meet, to meet everyone else in the commnity who is also involved in couchsurfing (which is how I met Cécile, and also the girls in Angers with whom I have previously stayed). We ate the most delicious galettes I have had yet, washed down with red wine and followed by a mouth-watering crêpe, topped with the owner’s own hand-made dark chocolate.
So far welcoming Spring has been a blast, and with the weather being 25 degrees+ every day this week, it’s only getting better!