Carnival in Spain
The Tamborrada drum festival in San Sebastián, the Carnivals in Orense and in the Canary Islands and the Fallas bonfire festival in Valencia are some of Spain's most important winter festivities.
Gabinete de prensa del Ayuntamiento de Cádiz
A group performing during the "comparsas" and "chirigotas" contest in the Teatro Falla theatre during the carnival festivities in Cadiz.
Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Patronato de Turismo de La Palma
Carnival in La Palma. The "Los Indianos" celebration.
Come to Spain and enjoy the carnival –an exhilarating festival celebrated in numerous places all over Spain. Nearly everything is allowed on these winter days before Lent, the period leading up to Easter. The streets in towns and cities all over Spain are filled with wild partying, humour, parodies and a general atmosphere of fun and high spirits. The carnivals that are particularly worth experiencing for their originality, beauty and their spectacular displays are the festivities in Cadiz in Andalusia, and Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands, which are deservedly famous all over the world. These festivities and the Águilas carnival, in the Murcia region, have all been declared to be of International Tourist Interest.
The hallmarks of the Cadiz carnival are the typical songs and ditties sung by a variety of music bands: these songs are full of irony and social criticism and are composed by the various popular clubs and associations that take part in the festivities. Why not take a walk around the centre of town and let yourself be swept up in the atmosphere of fun and abandon? Don't forget the parade on the Sunday known as the "Domingo de Piñata", with plenty of high spirits and good humour to delight both young and old.
Meanwhile the capital of the island of Tenerife hosts one of the most important carnivals in the world. Experience the glamour to be seen all over the city, join in the parades where imagination, fantasy and the spectacular costumes of the candidates for the carnival queen will take your breath away, surrender to the music, the beat and the good-humoured high spirits of this celebration which attracts people from all corners of the world. This jubilant explosion of vitality will leave you with an indelible memory.
You'll also find other carnival celebrations in the Canary Islands such as the one in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. This is one of the oldest festivities in the capital of Gran Canaria (its origins date from the 16th century). Highlights for visitors to enjoy include the celebration of the gala to choose the Carnival Queen, the contests featuring the typical musical groups singing their satirical songs, the body paint and disguises, and the Grand Parade that attracts more than 200,000 people every year. The popularity of this festivity is shared with the Carnival of Maspalomas (to the south of the island).
And another event not to be missed in the carnival celebrations on the island of La Palma is the festivity of "Los Indianos", on Carnival Monday in the capital of the island, Santa Cruz de La Palma. With a multitudinous cast, the city re-enacts the return to their homeland of the islanders who emigrated to South America (known as the "Indianos"). The streets are filled with music, women don their finest jewels and white dresses, and the men wear linen suits and hats as testimony to the success of their venture. What's more, the whole city and all the "Indianos" are covered in clouds of talcum powder all day long in a playful free-for-all battle. Another very well-known carnival is the one in Águilas, in the Murcia region. This colourful event features numerous parades, and competitions for the most spectacular disguises. Two of its traditions are particularly famous. One is the tossing of eggshells (eggs filled mostly with confetti), and the other is drinking "cuerva", a drink described by many as the "magic potion" that awakens the spirit of carnival.
But there are numerous other carnival festivities in Spain, almost all of them original and all of them guaranteeing generous doses of fun, humour, creativity and group participation. Why not see for yourself?