Twenty years ago, in a place in the selva of Chiapas, a movement began which would go around the world with a message of hope and vindication. Rebellion was being woven in the dark of night, until, on the first of January of 1994, all of us came to know a predominately indigenous army, which flung the word at the powerful and disrupted the neoliberal party. Twenty years from the founding act, and 10 since its armed awakening, we are celebrating the heroic deed of the most small: the struggle and resistance of the men, women, children and old ones of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation.
The roots of modern Carnival in Veracruz extend back to the colonial period when residents living in neighborhoods located just outside the city wall (barrios, negros or extramuros) forged new forms of music and dance drawn from European, African and Indigenous traditions. Gradually growing out of the December Corpus Christi religious celebration, porteños fashioned Carnival into a local, pre-Lenten event.
Mardi Gras or Carnival is an age-old celebration deeply rooted in ancient pagan and European festival traditions. While scholars disagree about the connections (or lack thereof) between Carnival and the ancient Roman spring rites of Saturnalia and Lupercalia, we know that the Christian church leaders sought to neutralize the rowdy Roman festival by incorporating it into the newly created Christian calendar early in the fifth century.
Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980) is well known for his novels The Lost Steps, Explosion in a Cathedral, The Harp and the Shadow, and, most notably, The Kingdom of This World, which opens with the phrase that allegedly launched the Latin American fiction boom: for what is the history of Latin America but a chronicle of magical realism?