A carnival parade to give voice to the children of Ponta Delgada

Last week, in the parish of Fajã de Baixo, Ponta Delgada, an imitation of the typical song of the shearwater shearwaters, the birds that swarm the coasts of the Azores islands, was sung by children aged 6 to 11, who circulated around a palm tree, raising placards with slogans.

"No more drugs", "We no longer want tourism", "Happiness and love", "Don't litter on the grass", were some of the messages present on Friday, in the parade which was the highlight of a week-long process, the beginning of which resembled a demonstration, organized within the framework of the Academia Humana, the training program for Ponta Delgada's candidacy for European Capital of Culture.

From the Natália Correia Cultural Center, the procession headed towards the square of the church of Fajã de Baixo. The children, with colorful costumes, evoked the poetry of Natália Correia and sang original songs, such as “Rock da Galinha Assassina” or the parody “Funk da Fajã de Baixo”.

The parade, punctuated by choreographed moments and others of freedom, followed the baton of Lívia Diniz, the artist who organizes "carnival blocks" in Brazil with thousands of children and who was in São Miguel for ten days expressly for the initiative entitled "If these streets were ours..."

“Children arrived, created magical characters and started making costumes for the characters, building their own universe. A concept was created for each character and a concept for the 'block' [desfile],” Lívia Diniz explained to the Lusa agency.

More “important” than the final show was the “process throughout the week”. The children built their own costumes and decided, together, on the procession concept through an assembly which defined the type of music, the rhythms and the organization of the procession.

“At the Assembly, some defended that the parade should only have rock music, others did not. After the discussion, some changed their minds. Then they voted to choose the beats. This is part of a process of experimentation with participatory democracy,” he stressed.

The creation of the fashion show therefore sought to appeal to the children's individual imagination while “strengthening” the “collective dimension”.

“So that they [as crianças] form the posture and discourse of political authorities. These political bodies do not have to be upset. Doing politics, making collective decisions, doesn't have to be boring. It can be fun. It is this little seed that we are trying to plant”.

Matilde Oliveira, 7, was among the children who joined the parade, carrying a poster calling for the rejection of drugs. He created a 'gatoleta' costume, a mix between a cat and a butterfly, and revealed that he is very fond of carnival because it is 'synonymous with love and joy'.

“We were in an activity that had to write something to improve the streets. Since there are a lot of problems people have with drugs, one way to improve the situation was for people to say no to drugs,” he said.

Already Maria Santos, 6, dressed as a blue butterfly, took the opportunity to alert the "other boys of pollution" on the island.

“My poster said I wanted less pollution for the world and fewer cars on the streets. Cars pollute the environment and garbage bothers me”.

There are several messages present in the parade. Joaquim Batista, 6 years old and dressed as "Super Hero Joaquim", asked for "peace and love" because he defends that "people should be more loving and happy".

Sofia Albergaria, a "dancer with golden and red hair", pointed to the criticism of tourism: "My poster said that tourism is bad because it pollutes our city and our island a lot".

The project, which encourages the civic participation of children, had the collaboration of maestro Marco Torre and Habitat, a platform for reflection on the island of São Miguel.

The artistic director of Ponta Delgada's candidacy for the European Capital of Culture in 2027 (whose work does not end until March, although Évora has already been declared the winner), António Pedro Lopes, justified the project by the need to create “offers capable of empowering people. children ".

"Basically, it's about understanding how adults can support the dream, the imagination and contribute to making the child an active citizen, who has a voice and something to say, who has an imagination and a way to contribute to the world.

António Pedro Lopes especially highlighted the “learning process” of the children throughout the sessions, where an attempt was made to “challenge the civic dimension” of the little ones through a festive context.

“Carnival is also a school of knowledge that brings a lot of knowledge and ultimately tells a story. It brings together a community around a story, with social or critical content”.

In this regard, Lívia Diniz believes that if adults “give way to the spontaneity and joy” of children, the transformation of society “would be much more comfortable”.

“Children are like a crack in time. They have access to certain information which we do not benefit from because we do not allow them to express themselves. When we open up this listening space, giving children the opportunity to rehearse different futures, new worlds open up.”

Basically, and as the children themselves sang, it's about building a future with "freedom in the heart": "what I want is the future, without walls or holes, with pineapples that burst and creatures to invent”.


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