Archive for January 20th, 2017

Spain is known for its numerous festivals and celebrations throughout the whole year, which always attract many visitors. But one of the most spectacular events is without doubts the carnival in Spain. Carnival is celebrated in every Spanish city, but there are some destinations that can be highlighted, because of their spectacular celebrations. In case you want to experience the carnival season in Spain, you should pay a visit to the Canary Islands, especially Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. On the mainland it is worth visiting the Andalusian city of Cadiz.


carnival in Tenerife (source: Diario ABC)

The carnival of Tenerife is traditionally celebrated in February in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de Tenerife. During the time of carnival, Santa Cruz is not to be recognized, the streets are full of locals and visitors from all around the world. The Santa Cruz carnival is considered to be the second most internationally known carnival, after the one in Rio de Janeiro. It is known for its colourful street parades and flamboyant costumes. Moreover, there are murgas (musical theatre), comparsas (groups of musicians and dancers) and rondallas (ensembles of stringed instruments) to be seen all over the city. Next to the official program, thousands of people gather on the street to celebrate together, most of them wearing creative costumes.

In Gran Canaria, the most exciting carnival takes place in Las Palmas, the capital of the island. This year’s theme is “La eterna primavera”, the eternal spring. Popular events during the carnival celebrations are the Queen Gala and the Drag Queen Gala. The Queen Gala features amazing dresses that are displayed by the candidates for the queen of the festival. All of the dresses are designed by renowned creators. The quality of the fabrics used and the size of the outfits, their colours and the originality of their designs are amazing and definitely worth seeing. This gala is one of the most eagerly awaited nights of the festivities.


Queen Gala (source: Carnaval de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria)

The Drag Queen Gala is another high-profile carnival event. There are always so many candidates in the competition that a qualifying stage has to be held in order to decide which drag queens will participate in the final. When the final arrives, live entertainment, gender transgression, audacity and a total lack of inhibition are combined on the stage in a show that will leave its audience speechless. Another part of the celebration is a big parade with costumed musicians and dancers that crosses the city over six kilometres.

The carnival celebration on both islands is ended with the traditional entierro de la sardina, the burial of the sardine, celebrated with a big parade through the cities. At the end of this parade, a huge sardine, which symbolises the spirit of carnival, is burnt . With this event the locals say farewell to the big festival, accompanied by great fireworks.

In Cadiz, in Andalusia, the whole city participates in the carnival celebrations for more than two weeks. The carnival festivities of Cadiz are especially known for the parody, sarcastic criticism and droll puns, often connected to politics. The celebration in Cadiz clearly differs from other carnivals in Spain, as its focus is not so much on colourful costumes and glamour, but on imaginative and clever attire that expresses the criticism. In the centre of attention during the Cadiz carnival are the chirigotas, satirical groups of performers, who express their witty messages through their music and lyrics. These music groups all compete in the Official Contest that is yearly held at the Gran Teatro Falla, shortly before the carnival begins.

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