La Bañeza Carnival
La Bañeza, in León, fills up with floats, brass bands and costume parades for almost a week.
The festivities start on Saturday evening with the grand Carnival dinner, the opening speech and the presentation of the Queen and Muse, which give way to the "Night of Sparks". People wear extravagant hats ands gather in the Plaza Mayor to wait for the chispazo mayor (great spark).
On Sunday, brass bands and cabezudos (big-heads) go round the streets amid a show of light and sound. On Monday the Children's Carnival and the "Witches' Night" takes place, with brass bands, trumpet bands and orchestras. On Tuesday there is a grand parade along the streets in which the peñas (associations) display their costumes. More than 40 groups take part and some of them have almost 200 members.
Finally, on Ash Wednesday the Burial of the Sardine takes place - a funeral procession that finishes in the Plaza Mayor. A series of traditional songs are sung there, praising the most popular characters of the year.
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- Bañeza, La (León. Castile-Leon)
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