Writing Prompt: The world’s seconds biggest carnival in Barranquilla, Colombia. Is this article about showing of the beautiful costumes that I saw, maybe a little bit, but also to share one thing (among many) that made it all worth while: Exchanging between Generations
The carnival in Barranquilla is a giant event with multiple processions, parades and party at literally every corner. Preparing for this carnival I heard stories from people ripping necklaces off and phones being robbed at gunpoint, so on the first day the only thing I took with me was a little money and an open mind. I was travelling with a large chunk from the community Puerto Alto, that I’m currently staying with, so in a group of 15 people all the risks seemed smaller than the potential fun. Walking down the first alley the first foam spray bottles and Aguilas were bought and all of a sudden we were on the edge of a giant procession, which was a sea of shaking sparkles on every kind of body type dancing to load Salsa and Reggeaton music. It was amazing and what stunned me the most, was that every age group was moving to the heavy tunes.
Fast forward 3 days and loads of crazy stories later I had dared to take my phone with me to at least catch a glimpse of the crazy:
Germany & Carnivals
In Germany we have festivals and carnivals as well, but writing this I’m still blown away by the carnival. Apart from the organized giant parties that could extend over whole streets, stadiums and parks, it was so fun to walk down any a street in any neighborhood and have people dancing with everybody passing on the street with their sound system in front of their house. It made me realized that the parties back home are much more separated by age and with it usually musical preference. Here it felt like people might die of a heart attack at 90 while dancing Salsa, rather than in a bed in a retirement home. For me this has two effects: it takes a way the western fear of aging and it provides a space to meet older people. So far I’ve rarely talked to people that are over 50 and not teachers, relatives or friends of relatives. And when I did I learned so much.
One older lady told me that she believes in old and young souls. People with a more more holistic grasp of the world and complex problems were born with an old souls and people, who for example leave their unwashed dishes in hostel kitchens 😉 have younger souls, that still need to learn.
In many cultures ancestral and elderly knowledge is praised, but in the culture I grew up with it is usually looked at as out dated. And, while in some cases that is very true I’ve heard some stories about love, friendship, regrets and farming, that have told me live lessons. Previous generations have already had crisis of meaning in the capitalistic world, faced environmental threats like sour rain and lived through it. I’m not saying that they have mastered life or that their solutions are applicable now, but the knowledge on how to stay sane through all of it, on how to make decisions is some thing that I’m very interested in.
What about you, what are the spaces where you can connect to elders or what do you think about the topic? Let me know your thoughts after enjoying these pictures in the comments!