While France was celebrating Mardi Gras and England had its Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday in Puebla was all about the carnival of the huehues. In a number of neighbourhoods in the city, residents dance in the streets from dawn until dusk and right through to dawn again, dressed in elaborate costumes supposed to be like traditional Spanish attire. They wear huge feathered hats and white masks, supposedly making a mockery of the Spanish, and imitate their courtly dancing. I’m afraid I can’t say anything else about it because the only sources of information I could find were in Spanish, but the Mexicans themselves couldn’t tell me anything either, for them today it’s just another excuse for a good old knees-up!
I went with a couple of friends to the neighbourhood of San Jerónimo, where one of the carnivals is held.
By the time we arrived at 6pm, the participants of the procession were pretty tipsy, and shrieking, howling, and cackling from behind their masks. I was dragged into the procession to dance with them and the stench of their alcoholic breath escaping through the mouth holes was less than pleasant!
Because of the hot climate, it is in the cooler evenings that the streets really come alive with food vendors, clowns, music and mayhem. Having missed out on Pancake Day at home, I was more than happy to try the Mexican equivalent, hotcakes. They’re more like American pancakes and, like everything Mexican, huge! They can be topped with all kind of sweet treats, from jams and fresh fruit, to chocolate spread and Coco Pops! I opted for cajeta (a kind of caramel similar to dulce de leche) and strawberries, and got a generous splash of chocolate sauce on top at no extra request, ¡órale!