Five Fascinating Facts about Cadiz Carnival
The Carnival Queen
Carnival is the biggest event in Cadiz's calendar, and the most important of its type on mainland Spain, just as the Feria is for Seville. People flood in from all over Spain, and beyond, to enjoy the noisy, colourful, festive atmosphere, singing competitions, concerts (rock, flamenco, samba), comedy, children's shows, parades, firework displays and street parties. Carnaval is also celebrated in towns and cities around Andalucia.
The singing groups are famous for their elaborate costumes, witty lyrics and catchy tunes, especially the chirigotas. If you follow the Spanish news, you're more likely to get the topical jokes and recognise the local characters satirised. You can see them performing in the street, while the Concurso Oficial (Official Competition) takes place in the Gran Teatro de Falla, and is televised.
The Cadiz Carnaval, like most decadent celebrations, was officially banned under Franco's dictatorship from 1937. While most Spanish towns and cities followed the decree, the Gaditanos, being… More →
Like most festivities in Spain, Carnaval has religious origins, in terms of its timing and character at least. Celebrated in the week before Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, it… More →
Costumes at the Cadiz Carnaval are about more than doing clever things with face paint and papier mache; they are social levellers. Going back centuries, disfraces were essential in… More →
An important influence of the Carnival dates back to the 16th century, when traders brought back stories of the decadent celebrations in the Italian port cities of Venice and Genoa.
Cadiz was a key trading centre - it was Spain's main port in the 16th century - due to its central geographical location between Europe, Africa and South American.