CARNIVAL IN SPAIN: HAPINESS, ORIGINALITY AND RYTHYM
Carnival in Spain is known for its amazing costumes and masks; although it is not as impressive as in Venice or Brazil it is surely worth seeing. People of all ages participate and enjoy, even those with little resources. Participants dress up according to their possibilities and imagination and take to the streets to celebrate both night and day; crazy days in which nothing is what it seems and anyone can become into whoever or whatever they have always dreamed about. In addition, there are parades, troupes, contests for the best costume and street theatres. This celebration ends on Ash Wednesday with the “Entierro de la Sardina” tradition. The Burial of the Sardine is a parody of a funeral in which the sardine is buried, symbolically marking the farewell to life’s pleasures and the arrival of Lent.
Nevertheless, the most celebrated Carnival event in Spain takes place in the southern part; such as Cadiz, and the Canary Islands; Tenerife and Las Palmas De Gran Canaria. They are broadcast on national television, attracting thousands of tourists from all over the world.
Although in our region carnival is not as known as in the southern part, you can find lots of parades and contests. In Castilla-La Mancha Carnival is very widely celebrated in those towns near Ciudad Real; in Alcázar de San Juan, Madridejos or Herencia. We are going to talk about Carnival in Villafranca de los Caballeros , which is close to Madridejos; 1 hour away from Torrijos.
CARNIVAL IN VILLAFRANCA DE LOS CABALLEROS
There, in Villafranca, Carnival is hold in a very intense way. The weekend previous to the “Ash Wednesday” the party begins. On Saturday morning, people go out to the street, they have lunch with their friends until the sun sets. Then, people go to their houses to change clothes and go out later. Next day, on Sunday, after having spent a funny day with friends; in the morning there is a contest known as “MASCARITAS”, in which people of different ages get costumed and have a good morning; after this, families have lunch together and, later, they go altogether to see the Carnival parade; where there are several prizes: three for local groups and three for foreign groups.
The first prize for local groups this year went to EUPHORIA DANCE, a group of “funky dance” in which I myself got costumed. And the first prize for foreign groups went to LAS HURÍES, a group from Quintanar de la orden.
CARNIVAL IN SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE
It is, without a doubt, the most “Brazilian” of all the Spanish carnivals, and it is famous all over the world for its originality year after year. For fifteen days, the streets of the city come alive with freedom, extravagance and rhythm.
The gala to elect the Carnival Queen is held on the Wednesday of the first week. In this spectacular competition, all the candidates parade on a square stage wearing the most fantastic costumes, which can weigh more than a hundred kilos!
Once the queen has been elected, the parade announcing the start of the Carnival takes place on the Friday, where thousands of people and musical groups fill the streets in a multi-colored chain of happiness. Over the three next days, the city organize different carnival groups perform. In fact, lyrics of the songs are not usual since they use social and political themes as their subject, but always with humor!
CARNIVAL IN CADIZ
In February, Cadiz becomes a big party. It’s carnival time!
You can hear carnival music in any corner of the city, and the last touches are put to the fancy-dress costumes (in Cadiz they are known as tipos), some of them real works of art. The locals put their hearts and souls into what is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the city, and perhaps the most fun-filled and entertaining of all the Spanish carnivals.
Compared with the spectacular nature of other carnival celebrations, the light-hearted fun and entertainment of the Carnival of Cadiz makes it a unique party which is well worth getting to know.
And there is no lack of other events during this time to ensure that the days of Carnival in Cadiz are complete.
The costume is the real king of the carnival. It is almost obligatory to wear fancy dress, above all on the first Saturday of the carnival.
The whole city is involved. This is a perfect time to get to know it and to enjoy the inventiveness and sense of fun of the people of Cadiz. You can’t lose it!