Cadiz Carnival - Guide

Surprise and disguise and the Carnival © iStockphoto
Surprise and disguise and the Carnival.
Cadiz Carnival Dates

CADIZ CARNiVAL: GUIDE TO WHAT, WHEN AND WHERE

WHAT IS IT?

This riotous, raucous, annual ten-day celebration of music and humour is what Cadiz looks forward to all year. It's the biggest carnival on mainland Spain (top spot nationally is taken by Gran Canaria's). Dating back to the 16th century, it was the only carnival which Franco couldn't ban.

You can see processions, concerts, comedians, children's shows (puppet theatre) and fireworks, as well as plenty of spontaneous singing in the street. Dance, drink, laugh, make merry and enjoy Spain's biggest party with the famously witty Gaditanos. Saturdays are when people arrive from all over in groups of fancy dress, and the streets are thronged with thousands of ribald revellers all night long - not for the faint-hearted.

The other, more intellectual highlight of Carnaval is the satirical singing groups which compete in a prestigious contest.

Like Rio, Notting Hill, Gran Canaria and other world-renowned carnivals, as soon as it's all over (well, after a well-earned rest), the people start planning for the next one, with the famous singing groups (below) spending as much as six months preparing their performances and costumes.

WHEN DOES IT TAKE PLACE?

Carnaval starts the weekend before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. The singing competition takes place over the three weeks before Carnival starts, with the grand final on the day (always a Friday) before Carnival starts officially.

For more information, see the rest of our Cadiz Carnaval guide.

Cadiz Carnival What To See Guide Cadiz Carnival Events Guide
What to see at the Cadiz Carnaval, from the singing groups to the street party
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A day-to-day guide to what happens, and where to see it - from parades to fireworks, and where to see the singing groups performing in the street.
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Carnival Singing Groups & Songs Carnival Glossary of Terms
The singing groups and their songs- find out about the different types of groups you'll see, all in fancy-dress, and the witty songs you will hear them perform.
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Glossary of useful terms - all the words you need to find your way around Carnaval.
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