MONUMENT TO THE CARNIVALERS

SLEME FLORES, BADIH. (2022). NOTES AND RESEARCH – RESEARCH CARRIED OUT BY THE DIRECTORATE OF TOURISM AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF COZUMEL.

This sculpture, inaugurated in 2008, is the work of sculptor Óscar Ponzanelli and alludes to the importance that the carnival festival has for the people of Cozumel.

The author of this work took as inspiration the 2003 carnival poster, in which Miss. Juanita Obdulia Alonso Marrufo and Mr. Kenny Villanueva García appear as models.

As recorded in Claude Luther Goodrich Noble’s booklet “The New Tropical Paradise” published in 1874 in St. Louis, Missouri, by Powell and Maynard Printers; in which it includes the following paragraph: “all people are lovers of music, dancing, playing a little, having fun on holidays, which are not few, innocent revelries, pastorelas and pompous walks of carnival The guitar and violin, cornets and snares, make up the majority of the musical instruments, all of which have become very disarranged. No cylinder piano has arrived yet.”

With this information, it can be stated that in 1874 the carnival was already celebrated in Cozumel, although it cannot be determined in which year it began.

The Cozumel Carnival is the oldest carnival in the Mexican Caribbean, celebrating 150 years of pure tradition in 2024.

To talk about the Cozumel Carnival, you have to be aware that it represents an entire great community, it is bringing the voice of the Cozumeleños, it is the biggest festival in the town.

Cozumel has developed as a tourist power in the Mexican Caribbean thanks to its inherent tourist vocation since its pre-Columbian origins. Hospitality has always been a characteristic of the residents.

The premise is clear that the richness of a destination lies in the natural beauty of the place, but that it is in clear communion with the culture of the people that inhabit it, that legacy that it receives from the past, that it lives in the present and that it transmits to future generations.

Thus, without a doubt it can be asserted that the Cozumel carnival is a cultural manifestation and is a tradition; It is living culture, it is identity and it is cultural heritage.

About the beginning of the carnival in Cozumel, reference is made to the pamphlet printed in the United States in 1874 by the North American L. C. Goodrich that circulated in Saint Louis Missouri, however, there are two marked dates in the history of the Cozumel carnival that are also a reference to its beginnings. One is the year 1896, the date on which the carnival is already considered an official holiday. And the other, 1908, the date on which the island’s authorities would have registered the first permit requested to hold a carnival dance.

Initially, the carnival festival began on the Sunday before the start of Lent, being a totally family-friendly festival, as it continues to be to this day.

Regarding the most traditional elements of the carnival, we can say that in 1904, for the first time, Don Manuel Vivas Martín organized La Guaranducha Cozumeleña, influenced by the guaranducha campechana, a musical-theatrical representation of a satirical, humorous, humorous nature; in which the characters represent a comedy where the customs of the white and the black are parodied, the figures of the mayoral, the judge, the hunter, the Monina, the black girl, Candemo, the Burutaco and María Rosario are recreated. The guaranducha has established itself as a popular expression of the Cozumeleño people that, at the same time, is reminiscent of the expressions of the theater of relations of the Cuban people that originated in the sugar cane plantations in the moments of rejoicing of the slaves. Beginning in the 40s, for the first time women joined the Cozumel guaranducha.

Shortly before the 1920s, a man from Tabasco who had recently settled on the island joined the carnival, Don Félix González Bonastre, who year after year, decade after decade, for more than half a century promoted the Cozumel Carnival and became the main exponent of island joy. Together with another lover of the festival, the Yucatecan teacher from Campeche origin, Don Luis Celarain Montero, author of humorous and not infrequently spicy and stinging couplets, his group of amateurs, but enthusiastic artists and dancers, brought joy with their songs and dances and costumes for the Cozumel carnivals that included the ribbon dance.

The carnival group was headed by Tránsito Villanueva, Félix and Manuel González, as well as José Allen, as well as Don Álvaro Delgado.

The 1950s were especially boom times for parody groups, student groups and coplas groups on the island. One of the peculiarities were the regional nights, where the wacax che bull was always the protagonist, a satire of the man-woman relationship, where a wooden bull chases anyone who provokes it, causing attacks, knockdowns and representing comic situations, it is traditionally integrated by only men, who are generally dressed as mestizas, caricaturing various behaviors of the regional culture. These days of carnival were highly popular integration, with presentations from house to house and in the town’s main square.

Dirección de Turismo y Desarrollo Económico

Altos de Plaza del Sol
Col. Centro
Cozumel, QROO MX


Tel. +52 1 987 86 90 212 turismo@cozumel.gob.mx