Carnaval Biarnes

On Saturday, we visited the southwest town of Pau to attend its annual, infamous Carnaval Biarnes. I won’t pretend to know half of what transpired (the official language of the event is Gascon, not French) but I delighted in the lively festivities nonetheless.

As far as I can gather, the Carnaval celebrates the Gascon traditions of the Béarn region while also encouraging the town to enjoy the hell out of life before Lent begins. It’s a Gascon Mardi Gras of sorts. Sent Pançard, the vulgar and gluttonous patron saint of the festival, is the soul of the party, complete with pig nose and sausage necklace.

1r8c0794
Sent Pançard parades through Pau
1r8c0815
The mayor presents Sent Pançard with the key to the city

Ben and I followed the crowds through the streets of Pau, reveling in the beautiful ruckus of music, dancing, confetti and general merriment that surrounded us. My senses were overwhelmed in the best way.

1r8c0779

1r8c0816

1r8c0843

1r8c0782At one point in the procession, Pançard and Lent pantomimed a confrontation that eventually led to the highlight of the evening: Crémation.

1r8c0859
Not looking good for ol’ Pançard

As one would guess, fire was involved, specifically, the burning of an effigy of Sent Pançard, symbol of unfettered boorishness. The papier-mâché figure was notably adorned with the visage of Donald Trump.

1r8c0872More revelry ensued. . .

. . . ending with a tented carnival in the town square.

1r8c0886

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s