Great Carnival of Dakar: Fire-eaters and dancers mark event

Great Carnival of Dakar: Fire-eaters and dancers mark event
Two men with white face paint on, wearing elaborate lion-like head dresses and colourful accessories.Image source, AFP
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Men dressed as lions for the parade
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Fire-eating performers, elaborate face paint and stilt walkers have marked the second edition of Senegal's Great Carnival of Dakar, which showcases the culture of the country.

The event, which runs from Friday to Sunday, falls on the last weekend of November and coincides with Senegal's tourist season.

Senegal is one of West Africa's most popular tourist destinations, but it has been hit by the pandemic, according to African news site Africanews.

The country received 1,376,000 international tourists in 2017, according to the most recent stats from the World Bank.

One of the aims of the festival is to show spectators around the world the cultural diversity Senegal has to offer.

The theme for this year's carnival is "Tales and Legends of Senegal and Elsewhere", which derive from the country's oral traditions.

A large parade was held featuring a vibrant cultural display over the course of the weekend.

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A woman dressed in white smiling and holding her hand outImage source, AFP
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The parade displays traditional costumes, dances and regional music or rituals
Women dancing dressed in white with beaded head dresses. The woman in the middle is dancing and smilingImage source, AFP
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These Diola women are wearing traditional clothing
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The carnival, which was postponed last year because of the pandemic, puts music, dance, theatre and costumes at the heart of the event according to Senegalese paper Le Quotidien.

One of the key aspects of the festival is to celebrate what Senegalese people call teraanga spirit.

This Wolof word broadly means generosity, hospitality and warmth.

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A man dressed as a lion eating fireImage source, AFP
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Elaborate costumes are a normal part of the festival
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Several government dignitaries were scheduled to attend opening events on Friday including the country's health minister, the city's mayor and the minister of territorial communities.

The carnival plays a crucial role in preserving the country's heritage, as well as for the economic development of local communities according to officials quoted on the event's website.

In a July news conference the festival was described as "an economic opportunity for participants" by a representative of the carnival, Fatou Kassé Sarr.

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A woman having her face painted. She is wearing a traditional head dress and has on red face paint on her eyelids and red paint on her lipsImage source, AFP
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This woman is having her face painted ahead of the parade
A child getting is face painted by another child.Image source, AFP
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The carnival is a popular family event
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Organisers have described the carnival as a family friendly event, which is open to any local or international spectator "wishing to have access to culture at a lower cost or free of charge".

Two stilt walkers wearing colourful clothing with a crowd behind themImage source, AFP
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Performers at the carnival showcase their talents
Two men wearing colourful traditional clothing singing and smilingImage source, AFP
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These Lebou people are singing during the parade

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