Carnival comes to the Costa del Sol
Published on: 29-01-2018

As a Catholic country, Spain takes celebrating religious festivals very seriously, and nowhere more so than in Southern Spain. Celebrated forty-seven days before Easter Sunday, the non plus ultra of Carnival celebrations is traditionally held in Cádiz, where the festivities are taken to great heights. The most famous festival in mainland Spain, it is renowned as the celebration that even General Franco couldn’t ban when he placed a blanket prohibition on the religious fiesta in the 1930s.

Cádiz was a major port in the sixteenth century, with close trading ties to Venice from which it ‘borrowed’ the carnival tradition.

Residents of Cádiz, nicknamed ‘Gaditanos’, are famously good-humoured and the celebration is full of parades, costumes, concerts, comedians, children’s puppet shows and fireworks. One particular custom that is extremely popular is that of the ‘chirigotas’, satirical singing groups who practice all year to sing their topical, ribald and often irreverent songs to the accompaniment of traditional instruments.

With carnival’s popularity growing across Spain, it is now commonplace for most towns and cities to partake in the festivities, local town halls organise their own parades, often electing a local girl as ‘Carnival Queen’ to lead the parades.

The revelries are enjoyed even by the smallest in the community and for many the first sign of Carnival approaching is the sight of nursery and primary school children beetling to school in fancy dress costumes.

This year Marbella celebrates this fun festival in the Parque de la Represa, complete with a huge range of activities for children, parties, a costume contest and parade, as well as the traditional Burial of the Sardine, thought to be a symbol of the feast before the Lenten fast ahead.

The calender for the carnival festivities from the 4th through to the 17th of February, in and around Marbella, can be found here.

Málaga is not to be outdone and will also be organising a range of fun events and parades, along with spectacular illuminations that have been repurposed from the Christmas display!