Spanish Carnival

Spain is often associated with the word fiesta. It’s hard to find a period in the Spanish calendar without any holidays or celebrations. Even during the quiet time between Christmas and Easter, the Spaniards find opportunities to have fun, and the most important event is of course the Carnival. Carnival celebrations are huge street parties with cities and towns filled with fun, joy and laughter. During the carnival you will come across medieval knights, clowns, pirates, superheroes, fairy-tale creatures and other characters wandering through the streets of the city and enjoying the ceremony.

Carnival’s roots

The origins of the carnival can be traced to ancient Rome, but the ceremony quickly spread throughout Europe. In the weeks before Lent, which was, and still is for many people, a time of moral and food restrictions, the inhabitants organize large events with a lot of food and alcohol, to eat and drink “in advance”. Over the years, many rulers and leaders, including General Franco’s regime in Spain, tried to ban the celebration of this holiday, but the spirit of carnival survived and its popularity increases every year.

How does it look?

Carnival festivities usually start with a star performance, and afterwards people celebrate in the streets. The fiesta lasts about a week and includes parades, competitions, costume parties, performances by circus artists and street theaters. Carnival Tuesday is the most important day of celebration. It is followed by the closing party on Ash Wednesday, when the “Entierro de la Sardina” or “Burial of Sardine” takes place. This ceremony is a parody of a funeral, during which a giant sardine puppet is set on fire as a symbolic farewell to the pleasures of life before the start of Lent.

"As pantallas" in Xinzo de Limia (Galicia)

Where to go?

Carnival is celebrated all over the world, but the Spanish version has its own unique character. It is not as aesthetically extravagant as carnivals organized in Italy or Brazil, but it is very diverse and encourages everyone to have fun, regardless of age and preferences. It is celebrated in various regions throughout Spain, but the largest events can be found in the Canary Islands, especially in Tenerife, in the historic city of Cadiz in Andalusia, in full of green landscapes Galicia, and the resort of Sitges in Catalonia. You can read more about dates and places to visit during carnival in our agenda.

Strange, unusual, but fascinating week of celebrations. The carnival is a really unique and exciting event that gives tourists an example of Spanish culture and explains Spanish love for all fiestas. If you’re traveling to Spain in February, do everything to be part of one of these amazing street events and experience days full of fun. Everyone will find something for themselves! Participation in the carnival should be a must for all those going to Spain in February!

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