Today we set aside vocabulary and grammar to discover more about the Spanish Carnival.
Spaniards are cheerful and full of life people who like to party a lot and when they celebrate they do it in a big way. Having seen how Epiphany is celebrated in Spain, let us now see how Carnival is celebrated.
Carnival starts with the pregón, an opening speech made by a local celebrity, and then, for days, the streets come alive with floats, parades, performances, and, of course, masks of all kinds.
Then, on Ash Wednesday, with the end of Carnival, the famous Entierro de la Sardina (or funeral of the sardine) is celebrated.
A sardine-shaped float parades, with various characters, in what is supposed to represent a funeral procession. It ends with a bonfire where a large sardine made of papier-mâché is burnt.
This tradition symbolises a ‘burial of the past’ that is burnt to give birth to something better.
Let’s see, now, which two Spanish Carnival celebrations are most popular. You can also read our article about the top 5 best Carnivals in Spain.
CARNIVAL IN SPAIN
The Cadiz Carnival is an Andalusian festivity and has been defined as a Festival of National Tourist Interest, as it is a very important and heartfelt celebration.
The Carnival festivity has very ancient roots that go right back to the Christian religion and the Lenten period, when the Church allowed a few more sins before the fasting period.
This Spanish Carnival lasts 11 days and is a riot of colours, music, and jokes. Although the custom of dressing up was imported from Italy, this is not the most important thing about the Cadiz carnival.
What really makes it so famous, and a major tourist destination, is the satire.
During the festive period, laughter and irony are the order of the day, and floats and parades with music and group dances are the stars of a Carnival worth seeing at least once in a lifetime.
Before Carnival, the groups that will be allowed to parade through the city are chosen in the Gran Teatro Falla. The choice is made through a competition where hundreds of groups perform singing las coplas, satirical songs mainly about government and politics.
The groups are divided into four categories:
- CHIRIGOTAS. About three to five people singing satirical songs and dancing with guitar and percussion.
- COMPARSAS. They are more people and with different musical instruments. They sing songs with more heartfelt and profound lyrics.
- COROS. They are the same as our choirs.
- CUARTETOS. Like the chirigotas but accompanied by a flute.
The actual celebration begins with the pregón, the speech we mentioned at the beginning of the article, and then continues with the parade of the selected groups and the rest of the groups – los ilegales, i.e. those who did not participate in the competition but parade anyway.
A week after the carnival ends, there is the Carnaval Chiquito (Small Carnival), so called because there is much less tourism.
CANARY ISLAND CARNIVAL
When we talk about Carnival in Spain, we cannot fail to mention one of the most famous: Carnival in the Canary Islands, specifically that in Las Palmas de Gran Canarias.
This too has been celebrated, with changes over the centuries, for at least 500 years and is a festival that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.
In addition to the parades, floats, and music, at Santa Catalina Park they set up a huge stage where two contests take place: the Gala de Elección de la Reina, where the Carnival Queen is elected, and the Gala de Elección del Drag Queen, where the best Drag Queen of the festival is elected.
Also on the agenda here will be satirical performances by various groups.
In 2017, the Las Palmas Carnival was awarded the title of Fiesta of National Tourist Interest.
SPANISH CARNIVAL FOOD
As you may know, Spanish food is really delicious! The typical Carnival sweets are real delicacies that will make your mouth water just hearing about them. Let’s see which are the most famous in Spain!
- TORTILLAS CANARIAS DE CARNAVA. These are very soft, fried pancakes, typical of the Canary Islands. They are flavoured with honey.
- TORRIJAS. Torrijas are fried bread puddings typical of the Carnival period. Although they originated as a breakfast dessert, tradition has it that they are eaten during Lent.
- OREJAS DE CARNAVAL. Literally ‘Carnival ears’, this is a typical dish from Galicia at Carnival.
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🟡🔵Learn more about🔵🟡
- How we celebrate Epiphany in Spain. One of the best Spanish traditions.
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- The most important Spanish festivals and festivities in Spain