Carnival Warriors, photo essay by Paulo Monteiro
“Carnival Warriors” is the title of a long-term project that aims to document the Carnival rituals that take place in the archipelago of the Azores. These rituals are mostly practiced by a youth who are irreverent and who find in these forms of expression a way of affirming their character.
In the municipality of Povoação, island of São Miguel there is a group that persists in a practice whose origins are lost in time. On Shrove Tuesday and the four Sundays that precede it, a group of dancers run through the streets of the county parishes and perform for the inhabitants and visitors who come to attend their parades. This is a theatrical performance with a strong dance component. Half of the dancers are disguised men as women. This feature goes back to the time when women’s participation in these amusements were not allowed, but it is currently maintained only to preserve the tradition.
In Ponta Delgada, island of São Miguel, every year on Shrove Tuesday afternoon, a group of inhabitants, get together in the city`s main boulevard to fight a peculiar battle: they throw plastic bags filled with water at each other. Many of them protect their heads with helmets.
Santa Cruz das Ribeiras is located in the island of Pico. Every year, during Shrove Monday afternoon, a group of young people, get together to fight another atypical battle: they throw flour to each other while they go through the main streets of the village. Almost every one protects their eyes with glasses, because the flour is thrown with considerable force. (Paulo Monteiro)