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

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Two men with white face paint on, wearing elaborate lion-like head dresses and colourful accessories.Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Men dressed as lions for the parade

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.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The parade displays traditional costumes, dances and regional music or rituals
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
These Diola women are wearing traditional clothing

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.

Image source, AFP
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Elaborate costumes are a normal part of the festival

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.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
This woman is having her face painted ahead of the parade
Image source, AFP
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The carnival is a popular family event

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".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Performers at the carnival showcase their talents
Image source, AFP
Image caption,
These Lebou people are singing during the parade

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