Spain in-depth: Festivals

Cadiz Carnival – the amazing sound of comparsas

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The Cadiz carnival Festival

In Spain Carnival is celebrated in many towns and cities, but they are above all known for their traditions and grace, the Carnival of Cadiz, and for the color and beauty of Tenerife Carnival queens, two twin celebrations that were declared as International Tourist Interest. The city of Cadiz lives their carnival with great passion and locals participate in many different activities. 

The origins of the modern Cadiz Carnival, have a religious background  following the ban of eating meat on days of Lent, which begins forty days before each Holy Saturday, also known as Ash Wednesday. From this day is a period of reflection for Christians in which one of his penance is fasting in preparation for Easter.

Comparsa group in Cadiz

Carnivals therefore end on Ash Wednesday with the burial of the sardine, after a week of festivities, dancing and entertainment with excesses of food and drink that will face the Lenten fast with the body well-fortified and with reservations. And like the body gave up on eating, worshiping Don Carnal, also the moral is relaxed and anonymity of the mask took advantage to outwit Doña Lent and to satirize freely to authorities and settle things that were put off during the year.

Masks carnivals have had their periods of light and shadows in the history of Spain and there have been times since the sixteenth century to the reign of Charles I in which they were banned, also with Felipe II, and finally during civil war where holding these parties were banned throughout Spain.

The famous Carnival of Cadiz, one of Spain´s festivals in January, already historically due to the influence of the Italian carnivals, due to the Mediterranean and be a part of the route of Genoese merchants take to African destinations.

For Cadiz, we can say that several carnivals, Carnival Grande, and Chico or the “Jartibles” called to those after the burial of the sardine who are reluctant to dismiss the celebrations and that are still dressed in their costumes in the streets. So the celebrations begin as early as January with the competitions Cluster (Troupes, Chirigotas, choirs and quartets) officers in the Gran Teatro Falla, and usually ends in late February or early March, when Easter falls.

However, the real Carnival of Cádiz lives on the street, where locals and tourists mingle under a disguise in the neighborhood of Vine and surrounding the old town, by the Market Square and other parts of a beautiful city to drink, eat, sing, dance and laugh with street or “illegals” jokes to liven up the party with its battles of verses full of wit and social criticism.

Parades, concerts, musical performances and fireworks make up a unique holiday atmosphere in a majestic city on the Mediterranean, with endless beaches and natural landscapes, peaceful after those days of revelry and fun.

Carnival of Cadiz in February