San Sebastian on La Gomera is a small place (pop. about 9k) on a small island (pop. about 21k). But boy did this place punch well above its weight when it came to celebrating Carnaval. We already posted video of some musical highlights. Think about a town around you of that size, and what they might put on in terms of a local festival. And compare that with what little San Sebastian did.
And it wasn’t just a show for tourists. Sure, there were some milling about. We visitors were certainly welcomed, but we didn’t get the feeling that things were done to show off to tourists. The locals were just having fun.
The theme throughout the many events was dressing up, and the costumes were completely over the top. Sure, every now and then we saw a store-bought Minion or Paw Patrol Pup marching in one of the many parades. But much more typical were hand-made costumes, done by an individual or a group, that shared more in common with a Broadway show or a Las Vegas spectacle than, for example, the costumes that are typically put together for our comparable Halloween festivities back home.
The activities went on for day after day for a week straight.
One night was set aside for “Los Polvo de Talco,” where the locals dress up in their best white outfits and commence dousing everyone and everything in a coating of white talcum powder. Of the several people we asked, none had a clear idea of the meaning of act. We researched it online, and learned that it is supposed to be an old custom, meant to be a physical manifestation of the ideal that all Gomerans are equal. When the farmer astride his donkey and the banker in his convertible are covered in white flour alike, who can tell the difference between the men? Or so goes the thinking.
Maybe it served that purpose. It WAS in fact a fun event, and broke down barriers. Folks of all stripes and ages, who otherwise wouldn’t say “Boo” to each other, were now taking liberties to spray each in white. We laughed it up as did the same.