I’m guessing that, after the previous two Christmas-related posts, you were expecting another today. Instead, I’m posting my very favorite set of stereographic slides that are not of Great War subjects. This is the Carnaval de Nice from 1933, when the year’s theme was “The King of Gender”. The Carnaval de Nice is the largest such carnival in France, and the longest continuously running in the world – records of it date to at least the 13th century. While the Carnaval has taken on many forms over the years, including as a series of private parties, various types of parades, and general celebrations, its present form has continued for almost 200 years. The corso (“flower parade”) moves down the street, and a flower battle takes place – which, during this period included plaster confetti, banned in 1955. Each year, a particular theme is celebrated.
On why I chose this over other possible, more Christmas-y subjects: today is a celebration for me and my family (of mostly atheists). And the pictures in this post are most definitely celebratory, jubilant, and lovely. They are also universal. Anybody – familiar or unfamiliar with the Carnaval – can look at these and see that there is joy here. Christmas, on the other hand, is biased towards a particular religion practiced in particular parts of the world. It’s an interesting topic for blog posts (hence the two I’ve done), but it’s not a universal theme. While my mostly-atheistic family happens to still use the Christmas trappings, we don’t do so for any religious reason – it’s just what we grew up with. Likewise, I don’t want this blog to reflect bias towards any religion, affiliation, region, or anything else. I hope today can be a celebration for everybody. I hope that today, everybody can find a reason to be kind to someone else expecting nothing in return. I hope that this is in the spirit of whatever religion that you, as my reader, practice – if any. I hope that nobody finds that they need a reason to be kind.
As to the slides – I love these, and rarely run them through my scopes so as not to damage the near-perfect emulsions which have survived in such good condition for over 85 years. They were taken by a photographer with a very keen eye – being well composed, and having a great vantage point for photography. Bizarrely, however, they were labeled somewhat haphazardly – with some of the labels appearing on the flat side, and others on the emulsion side. The labels on the flat side will appear reversed in the images below. The emulsion itself has a lovely tonality that varies between a light red and a deep orange. The slides are almost certainly out of order – this is how they came packaged, however, some floats with higher numbers appear before floats with lower ones, although the first slide depicts the departure of the 1st corso on the Place Masséna, which makes sense.
Only a part of the parade is featured, of course – even finding 13 slides in such great condition is rare. It would take many more to fully document the event, and would require multiple photographers at numerous angles. Still, these are pretty astounding, and if anybody who speaks French would like to help with the captions & what they mean, I’d appreciate it.
Whatever your beliefs, whatever you are celebrating (if anything), be kind today. Have a happy holiday if you have a holiday near this time of year, and have a happy day regardless if you do not. Spread some love around. And enjoy these stereoviews.
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