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Festivals in Guinea Bissau, between initiations and Afro-Portuguese mix

Guinea Bissau.

Festivals in Guinea Bissau, between initiations and Afro-Portuguese mix

Guinea Bissau.

Carnival

Carnival is the main festivity in Guinea Bissau, an incredible mix of African and Portuguese traditions. Colorful masks from different areas and neighborhoods make their parade: sacred traditional masks, warriors dressed in a crocodile skin and armed with arrows, modern masks made of papier-mâché, all surrounded by girls wearing only strings of glass beads around their waist. Hours of lively parades turn this carnival into an unforgettable experience, a real “fiesta popular” combining cheerful African spirit with Portuguese influences.

Vaca Bruto mask

In Bijagos Islands, life is still ruled by the cycle of seasons and during the long dry season, when the harvest is over, the main ceremonies take place. The most spectacular Bijago mask is called Vaca Bruto (wild bull) and is a wooden helmet mask with eyes of frosted glass, real horns, leather ears and a rope through the nostril. During the Vaca Bruto ceremonies dancers embody the spirit of the mask with great realism: they bow and face the ground, just like a real untamed animal would do.  

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