African Culture

Does anything really happen in Guinea-Bissau? Learn about the Guinea Bissau Carnival

A special itinerary that travels “north to south” through three nations will allow you to witness the continual transformation of climatic habitats, social surroundings, and the Carnival of Bissau, the nation’s largest festival. The Carnival is a true “fiesta popular” mixing jovial African spirit with Portuguese and Brazilian influences because of its amazing fusion of African and Portuguese customs.The General Directorate of Culture took control of the festival in 1984 and enlarged it. Even though there has subsequently been some unrest in the nation, the now-national celebration transcends social and racial boundaries, with each group contributing its own sounds, sights, and customs. In addition to competitions, the Carnival features a Carnival queen and awards for outstanding group performance and mask.

Photo credit : atlas obscura

Guinea Bissau’s primary holiday, Carnival, is a fantastic fusion of African and Portuguese customs. Sacred traditional masks, warriors clad in crocodile skin and armed with arrows, and contemporary masks constructed of papier-mâché parade in unison, all surrounded by girls who are just wearing glass bead strings around their waists.

Guinea-Bissau, which was once a part of the Mali Empire and was invaded by Portugal in 1588, includes a variety of diverse ethnic groupings. It was a center of the slave trade and other European countries came and went over the years. The culture of the nation today is a result of all of these influences. Despite the country’s predominantly Muslim population and minor Catholic population, Carnival is a remarkable import and has been celebrated there for more than 100 years. According to Christoph Kohl in his book A Creole Nation: National Integration in Guinea-Bissau, it was initially a modest celebration that was “a creole cultural expression in a few trading ports.” However, with time, these occasions evolved into more than just gatherings. They served as emblems of defiance.


Photo credit: internet

The General Directorate of Culture took control of the festival in 1984 and enlarged it. Even though there has subsequently been some unrest in the nation, the now-national celebration transcends social and racial boundaries, with each group contributing its own sounds, sights, and customs. In addition to competitions, the Carnival features a Carnival queen and awards for outstanding group performance and mask.

 

Guinea Bissau’s primary holiday, Carnival, is a fantastic fusion of African and Portuguese customs. Sacred traditional masks, warriors clad in crocodile skin and armed with arrows, and contemporary masks constructed of papier-mâché parade in unison, all surrounded by girls who are just wearing glass bead strings around their waists.

Photo credit: internet

Life in the Bijagos Islands is still governed by the seasonal cycle, and the main ceremonies are held after the harvest, during the protracted dry season. The most impressive Bijago mask is the Vaca Bruto (wild bull), which is made of a wooden helmet, has glass eyes, real horns, leather ears, and a rope running through the nostril. Dancers portray the mask’s spirit with incredible accuracy during the Vaca Bruto ceremonies by bowing and facing the ground as an actual wild animal would.


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Francis Chidera
the authorFrancis Chidera
Popularly known as Chokolate is a content creator. A lover of simplified words making it easy to get to a wider audience. It pains to see that Africans are forgetting and neglecting who they are, hence, I am passionate about reminding us of our culture. I work with 54history on the African culture category, to achieve this aim.

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