Sunday, 30 November 2008
In the last Friday in November, Ashburton goes carnival crazy. Everyone flocks into the town in the evening, and hawkers mysteriously appear, selling luminous sticks, bunny ears and the like. Some time after eight o'clock, you start to hear music in the distance, and then you see flashing lights bouncing off the houses at the top of the hill. It's the arrival of the carnival floats. They come down the main street, one by one, as brash as can be. You've got the traditional carnival queens, but there are also various other tableaux including, this year, the Kumars, the Jungle, and Men in Suspenders. It feels like a tradition that goes back to the beginning of time. The winter, the darkness, lights, fire...it's almost pagan.