Tuesday, February 16, 2010

le Carnaval

Flower Market  the morning of the Flower Battle, a carnival tradition in Nice

La Grande Bataille des Fleurs sur Mer

le Grand Corso Carnavalesque
la Place Masséna Nice
9 février 1904

In mid-February the ancient Romans celebrated the Lupercalia, riotous circus very close to the carnival celebrations we know today. Before abstinence and fleshless days - Carne Levare (remove meat),  one last celebration is needed where all excesses of the flesh are permitted.  Another possible explanation of the origin of the word carnival comes from the term Carrus Navalis (ship cart), the name of the roman festival of Isis, where her image was carried to the sea-shore to bless the start of the sailing season. The festival consisted in a parade of masks following an adorned wooden boat, that would be comparable to the floats of modern carnivals. 

For today's Flower Battle and  Grand Corso dancing in Nice see Carnaval de Nice and for information on Mardi Gras and carnival history and traditions throughout the world see Carnival.


  1. I love the layers revealed of how "religions" came to be. I say it's all about the return of the light...today here in the midwest that seems an impossible miracle. Wonderful photograph.

  2. HBD In the beginning, there was light !... and in the end, we see all the same things are celebrated. Why we couldn't and can't see that is the mystery!
    The grey days help us to appreciate the light. Hang in there in the midwest! Do you know, a beam of light just flitted in my window?