Sexagesima: The Carnival Continues
Yesterday was Candlemas, or the Purification of Mary, or the Presentation in the Temple, or Groundhog Day. Not quite the Non sequitur that one may think when you consider this old rhyme:
If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
But if it be dark with cloud and rain,
Winter is gone, and will not come again.
We did have a bright and fair day yesterday, and this morning when I opened the curtains the city was covered in a thin blanket of snow.
Candlemas is also the very last day that one may still have up any sort of Christmas decorations and not get (too much) flack for it. It is the last time that we hear of Jesus’s infancy as he is brought to the temple as dictated by the Law:
And when the dayes of her purification according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought him to Hierusalem, to present him to the Lord, (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Euery male that openeth the wombe, shalbe called holy to the Lord) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the Law of the Lord, a paire of turtle doues, or two yong pigeons.
So today I’m taking down the nativity scene and finally putting away all of the boxes full of ornaments that have been stacked in the corner of the living room awaiting this moment. I’m taking advantage of these weeks before Lent to get the house in order, and also trying to have a good time. As I’ve been saying for the last week: it is carnival season. This second Sunday of carnival is called Sexagesima. Last year for Sexagesima, I posted A Sexy Samba for Sexagesima, followed by If You Can’t Get to Rio… the next day, but this year Gesimatide’s been all about Brazil.
At least I thought it had been, until someone reminded me that Tom Jones is not Brazilian, and then consider my surprise when I had it pointed out to me that neither is Ethel Smith Brazilian, even though she played Tico Tico like a native. Well, here’s someone that I’m absolutely sure is Brazilian singing “Tico-Tico no Fubá”, “I, Yi, Yi, Yi, Yi (I Like You Very Much)”, “Mamãe Eu Quero”, and what I think is probably the most traditionally Brazilian song: “K-K-K-Katy”:
I hope our boys over seas, whether they’re fighting in Europe or in the Pacific, appreciated that.
What were those songs she mentioned: “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet“, “Mairzy Doats“, “Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar“, “Hold Tight, Hold Tight (Want Some Sea Food Mama)“? I just want to know what she had against the Andrews Sisters. After all they even recorded a song together.
It does seem a shame to watch Carmen Miranda in black and white, though to be honest, her sense of fun and frolic, the vibrancy of her personality, all come through in full living colour. But consider that last dress she wore. Now picture it in colour:
Okay, It’s a black dress, but it’s black and fuchsia, not black and white! Last year for my birthday I went to see The Gang’s All Here on the big screen. The Gang’s All Here is not my favorite of the Carmen Miranda movies, by far, even though it contains some of the most delicious and iconic images of the Brazilian Bombshell. And seeing it in fabulous forties technicolor was an almost religious experience. (Entre nous, I never really liked the finale. “The Polka Dot Polka” never inspired me.) But right along with The Gang’s All Here in my list of least favorite Carmen Miranda movies is Greenwich Village: from which we get “Give Me a Band and a Bandana.” But did you notice that in the middle of “Give Me a Band and a Bandana” she goes in to “O Que É Que Baiana Tem”? I know I put it up last year, but here it is again, even though we’re back to black and white.