In order to be king, you have to be “as big as a house” and jolly, says Brazil’s current King Momo, Rodrigues da Silva (here with his daughter). King Momo represents ‘excess’… like that cartoon-ish devil over your shoulder… you know… the one who convinces you to order one more bottle, take one last bite of chocolate cake, stay out for one more hour even though it’s past 2 am, flirt with that guy / girl even if you’re committed, go down a size or two just to show off…
Momo rings in the start of Carnival celebrations and his presence is mandatory – not at all optional – at all the major Carnival events… He gives everyone carte blanche to let loose, go a little crazy, have a little more fun, than usual… but he also represents all the ‘excess’ we must abstain from during Lent, starting on Ash Wednesday, right after our final Carnival parade, Marcha di Despedida.
Unlike in Brazil and most other Latin American countries where they elect a real-life King Momo, we stay true to our flair for the dramatic and make our Rei Momo out of straw and fireworks, just so we can blow him up after our Marcha di Despedida… banishing our fuku (bad luck), infertility (drought) and sins… while we sing and dance ‘ayooo! ayooo! ayooo Momoooo!’
Don’t believe me? Then see for yourself: