Discover Spanish Culture: Cadiz Carnival

Fiestas de Carnaval de Cádiz – Carnival Festivities in Cadiz

It is a known fact that Spain loves to party, and that they don’t need an excuse either. Over the next couple of weeks the city of Cadiz will be immersed in colour and music from all corners of the city. People spend months preparing for this spectacular event that lasts for 11 days! Many traditions and festivities will come to life all around Spain over the next couple of weeks as one of the most cultural events in Spain takes place.

Carnaval

Carnaval

The traditions of Carnival in Cadiz range from everyone dressing up to the nines, to eating sea urchins, to singing and dancing in the streets. This festival has something for everyone and is known as one of the biggest Carnivals in the world! Carnival is celebrated in many places in Spain, however nothing like in Cadiz.

Here are some facts you may not have known about Carnival:

  • Celebrations traditionally start in the middle of January (about 3 weeks before the official start date of the festival) as an official farewell to Christmas. This involves people gathering in the Plaza de San Francisco and the Peña Los Dedócratas (a club) give you free pestiño, a delicious Spanish Christmas dessert made of flour, yeast, salt, sherry wine, olive oil and sesame, served with anisette.
  • The day after this celebration, the real preparation for the carnival starts! Each year a competition takes place to choose the best Carnival choirs that will sing in the “Gran Teatro Falla” during the Carnival celebrations. This carries on until the start of the official Carnival (around 20 days!) and more than 100 groups participate in this competition. Along with this competition are two unmissable events; The “Erizada” and the “Ostionada”.
  • The “Erizada” is where the Peña el Erizo club offers “erizos”, sea urchin, that are best eaten raw with a spoon, you just need to be careful you don’t get stung by the needles!
  • The “Ostionada” is where people gather to taste “ostion”, a seashell very similar to oyster, with a more intense flavor, eaten raw with a spring of lemon juice and usually accompanied by beer or muscatel wine, and the fine carnival music of gaditanos.

But the part of Carnival that people know best and enjoy the most is the carnival parade, everyone dressed in amazing fancy dress and the firework display on the beach. All of these aspects attract people from near and far to this amazing festivity. Everyone in the city goes “all out” with their costumes and the atmosphere of fun and laughter is apparent all over the city.

Carnival is not the only amazing event to happen in Spain. Spain is full of amazing cultural events and festivities like Carnival and you can never tirer of being part of. If you would like to read about a previous Spark employees experience of “Carnaval” click here and see what she thought of her experience of Spanish culture!

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