Monday, January 5, 2009

The Calabar Christmas Carnival: The Kids Parade

Donald Duke-the former governor of Cross River State started the annual Calabar Christmas Carnival in 2000 which has surely put Calabar on the international map of carnivals! The entire month of December is lined up with exciting activities including live concerts, shows, youth development programs etc. The street parades are on 26 December (Kids) and 27 December (adults). The parade starts from one point and walks around the major roads across the city and heads back to the National Stadium. Eager and often undisciplined crowds line up on both sides of the road and other clearer viewing spots (we saw some on back of a billboard). Five bands compete for the best choreography, costume, music etc and of course the overall best band trophy! Each band has about 10-12 sections of different costumes. The overall theme of 2008 carnival was sustaining the earth's treasures. There are 3-4 adjudication points where the bands are at their best to impress the judges. Luckily for us, we befriended a Nigerian-British documentary maker who was making a documentary about carnivals. As press, he had direct access to the carnival, so we hung out with him as his assistants and got a fabulous view of the entire parade on both the days.

The Kids parade was absolutely stunning. The children had endless energy given they were walking around under scorching sun in heavy uncomfortable costumes some ever barefeet!

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