Riho and I took a stroll down to the Old Town last night, having heard something about a parade that was taking place.
Apparently there’s a Winter Tropics Festival going on this week, complete with Samba dance workshops and traditional Brazilian jamming sessions. I have no idea what it’s all about, but thought it might be fun to check out the Samba Parade that was scheduled to go from the Viru Gate to the Town Hall Square at 9pm.
The parade turned out to be a bunch of dreadlocked guys playing instruments as pretty, exotic-looking girls with long dark hair danced around them. There was a trumpet, a drum, maybe some kind of flute and a couple of those shakey-ricey thingies. That was it. Most were wearing colourful garlands and waving balloons, and it was Silly Hat Central (I fitted right in). Everyone was smiling broadly, and it was nearly impossible not to join in with the whooping and dancing.
Amused, we stood at the edge of the road to watch them cavort past. It was at this point that it became apparent to me that it wasn’t actually the sort of parade you go and observe, but rather the sort you’re expected to become part of. I made this realisation when a balloon was thrust into my hands and suddenly Riho and I were swept into the midst of the singing, dancing swarm. Alarmed, I watched as someone performed some sort of martial art style dance at my feet. Then I shrugged, waved my balloon, and danced cheerfully along the streets with everyone else. No one seemed to mind that it was freezing cold, or that the majority of people in the parade were just innocent passers-by who’d become entangled in the procession and didn’t really have a clue what was going on.
Merrily, we proceeded through the Old Town. A little old lady watched from her window, drinking her tea and nibbling on a biscuit as if she was simply curled up on the couch watching Corrie. An unfortunate car drove into the procession and slowed down, the driver looking utterly bemused as people Samba-ed their way around his vehicle.
There was no police presence whatsoever, and no obvious parade route. We Norn Ironers just aren’t used to this sort of thing.
After a “concert” in the Square, which involved everyone stopping, blattering happily on drums, and dancing around madly some more, there was a loud cheer signalling the end of the parade, whereupon everyone promptly piled into the pub to start the aforementioned jamming session and stave off frostbite.
I love this place…