La Ceiba Carnival

La Ceiba Carnival
The La Ceiba Carnival in Honduras (Gran Carnaval Internacional de La Ceiba) is the largest Carnival celebration in Central America. It is held every May in honor of San Isidro (Saint Isidore the Laborer), the patron saint of La Ceiba.

The history of the La Ceiba Carnival can be traced back to 1917, when the municipality of La Ceiba hosted its first Feria la Isidra, a fair in honor of its patron saint. One of the fair’s highlights was the selection of the Queen of the Fair (Reina de la Feria). In 1929, the celebration was given an official status by a municipal decree.

The fair began to evolve into a carnival in 1967, when the first parade honoring the Queen of the Fair was held. It consisted of five floats that were sponsored by local businesses. Despite its small scale, the inaugural parade was warmly received, and so the annual La Ceiba Carnival was born. By 1972, the parade featured more than 15 floats.

In 1976, the tradition of holding small neighborhood carnivals (carnavalitos) in the days leading up to the main parade was born. Several neighborhoods were offered the opportunity to host a small carnival, but the only one that accepted the offer was Barrio Meija. The first carnavalito was a big success, so many neighborhoods changed their minds and started to host their own carnavalitos in the years that followed.

Today, the La Ceiba Carnival is a huge event that attracts over half a million tourists every year, which is twice the city’s population. The main parade takes place on the third or fourth Saturday of May, since the feast day of Saint Isidore is celebrated on May 15, but the festivities begin two weeks before the parade. The event that kicks off the carnival is the crowning of the Carnival Queen, followed by a small procession of children from local high schools. The following days are filled with pageantry, parades, parties, as well as various cultural, sporting, and gastronomical events and activities.

Neighborhood carnavalitos take place during the week leading up to the grand parade. The neighborhoods and plazas of La Ceiba that host their own mini carnivals with parades and street parties include Barrio El Iman, Barrio Ingles, Barrio La Isla, Barrio Meija, Barrio Solares Nuevos, Colonia El Sauce, Mall Mega Plaza, and Plaza Premiere. Every night of the week is a party with live music, signing, dancing, entertainment, and delicious food.

The grand parade with its elaborate floats and dancers, singers and musicians in extravagant costumes takes place on Saturday afternoon, beginning at around 2 PM. Alongside floats and performers, the La Ceiba Carnival Grand Parade features horse riders that perform impressive tricks, motorcycle stunt drivers, and special performances by the Garifuna ethnic group.

The parade marches along the city’s main thoroughfare, Avienda San Isidro, starting at its south end and ending at the beach. After the parade, thousands of people continue celebrating well into the night along Avienda San Isidro, where stalls sell food, drinks, and souvenirs.

La Ceiba Carnival

Photo: A Broader View Volunteers Corp




Related Articles