It started on time (!) and this year the route went from the bottom end of town to the top. Our predictably surprising Exmouth Carnival. Floats, walking groups, individuals, three towns of glitz and twirl majorettes. If only majorettes had been around when I was nine. It's about rhythm, and dancy pop and baton twirling and showing off in little seaside town carnivals. It's 'we' not 'I', winning trophies as a troupe, not straining to notch up exams. So much easier and more fun than ballet. 

As always there are the overpriced light stick gizmos  and helium balloons sold from the stalls and mobile hawkers.'Fiver.' 'Mum, plee-eze'. I moaned in the past when the light sticks cost two quid. Moaned and paid up,the price we have to pay for being seaside town parents of small children. One year the little'un even got a helium pony. Exmouth carnival is for one night, where do the hawkers go after that? I guess they are fairground people who circuit the carnivals and get a hawkers licence from every town council. Carnival would not be the same without then.

Where does it all come from? Ancient tales, our dreamtime images sometimes staying close to the original, sometimes given a Disney update. The fear taken out of horror and superstition, the dark night made light by colour, costume,family and community. 'Omigod it's Beelzebub' shouts a little boy behind me. Beelzie is a girl of about 8 in the girl guide Halloween/Disney themed walking group. The Three Little Pigs Float was awesome, three trailers with dancing adults pink pigs, the houses of straw, clay and brick. The big, bad grey toothy wolf was in front. It was massive, the jaws were eight foot wide.

Devon children are often taught to be shy and polite before they reach primary school. 'Don't stand out, don't make a show of yourself.' Carnival is the ancient permitted antidote.

Rock on! Don't Stop the Carnival.



the horrow or over-pricing and glitz of something other, kids don't care about the first and love the second. Like you elsie I was once young. 


Sounds great, Elsie.  Community stuff is lovely, even with the overpriced merch.  The Lords and Ladies of Misrule, on their special day!  

airy, cm, thanks for your comments.

I looked up Misrule last year as I wanted to find out when it happened in'the old days'. I have a Halloween acrostic which uses Halloween/Samhain as Misrule day with Order resumed on Nov 1st, All Saints Day following All Souls night.

What I found online was - wait for it...

The Twelve Days Of Christmas!!

Before Cromwell tried to cut of its head, like he did with King Charles, The 12 Days was a time of indulgent feasting and wild pranks which filled a stretch of the calendar when there was little work to be done on the land and the harsh winter weather might stop any attempts at farming. Our modern Christmas is stodgy and sedate by comparison.

Wasn't the main day Twelfth Night rather than Christmas itself?  Hence the play.  Such a pity our modern lifestyle doesn't stretch to twelve days of revelry!

Yes, airy, Twelve Night may have been The Grand Finale. And this would fit with Shakespeare's comedy.