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Carnival festivities in Cadiz

  • Street musicians. Cadiz Carnival © Manuel de la Varga López. Patronato de Turismo de Cádiz.

    Street musicians. Cadiz Carnival © Manuel de la Varga López. Patronato de Turismo de Cádiz.



Festivity of International Tourist Interest


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Cadiz, Andalusia

Cadiz spends the whole year preparing its famous carnival celebrations. If you have an outfit and are up for a good time then you are ready to enjoy this unique, joyful party.

The Cadiz carnival is known throughout the world as a huge street party. 11 days of non-stop fun, originality and, more than anything else, mass participation. The whole city is transformed, the streets filling with people who come out to laugh and make others laugh, to sing, and to have a good time. If you too would like to experience the joyful Cadiz carnival celebrations, you should make plans well in advance. This is one of the most long-awaited events on the calendar and attracts thousands of people year after year.

A month before the official start of carnival, the groups that compete in the Falla Theatre competition begin their rehearsals, which start warming up the atmosphere. Different carnival groups organise open-air gastronomic fiestas where they play their repertoire of humorous songs in public and where you can also sample typical Cadiz produce. The songs are usually humorous, providing an ingenious critique of events that have made the news over the course of the year. The Falla Theatre competition sees more than 100 groups taking part, with the popular chirigotas standing out especially. It is a great spectacle, packed with humour, music and colour. The Grand Final is one of the main attractions of the fiesta: it is held on the first Friday of Carnival an lasts until the following morning. It is then that the great explosion of carnival joy moves onto the city streets. The groups that have taken part roam the streets of the old town, packed with people, singing their compositions and, on Sunday and Monday, they get up on platforms to perform the Carrusel de Coros.

Fancy dress is obligatory at the Cadiz Carnival. Whether you do it alone, as a couple or in a group, it is vital to wear fancy dress, at least on the first Saturday and during the parades. There are two parades where the public become an active part of the multi-colour cavalcade. The Gran Cabalgata (Great Parade) is on the first Sunday. It runs down the avenue at the entrance to the city and brings tens of thousands of people together. The second is the Cabalgata del Humor (Comedy Parade), which runs through the old town on the last weekend. The “charangas ilegales” are another characteristic element of the Cadiz Carnival: they usually come together in Plaza de las Flores. They are families, groups of friends, or workmates whose repertoire of songs compete for humour and laughs with the “official” groups. Open-air parties, fireworks, fancy dress dances and endless additional activities all go to ensure that the fun does not stop for a moment throughout the celebrations.

En el Carnaval de Cádiz es obligado disfrazarse. De forma individual, en pareja o en grupo, hay que lucir el disfraz al menos el primer sábado y durante las cabalgatas. Se realizan dos cabalgatas y en ellas el público se convierte en parte activa del desfile multicolor. La Gran Cabalgata es el primer domingo, transcurre por la avenida de entrada de la ciudad y congrega a decenas de miles de personas. La segunda es la Cabalgata del Humor, que recorre el casco histórico el último fin de semana. Las “charangas ilegales” son otro elemento característico del Carnaval de Cádiz: suelen estar en la Plaza de las Flores y son familias, grupos de amigos o compañeros de trabajo que, con su repertorio de canciones, rivalizan en buen humor y risas con las agrupaciones “oficiales”. Verbenas, fuegos artificiales, bailes de disfraces y un sinfín de actividades más contribuyen a que a lo largo de esta fiesta no decaiga en ningún momento la diversión.


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