Carnival of Cadiz: when and where

02 Jan
2018
Last update: 1 April, 2019

Discover the peculiarities of the Carnival of Cadiz, a centuries-old celebration.

Move into the streets and feel its joyful spirit!

The Carnival of Cadiz is one of the most famous and most important Carnival celebrations both in Spain and in Europe, so much that it has been declared Fiesta de Interés Turístico Internacional, Fiesta of National Tourist Interest of Spain, an honorary designation given to festivals and events held in Spain of special tourist interest.

The origins of the Carnival of Cadiz

The spring of the Carnival of Cadiz is to be found in the Christianism and the Lent. Before the period that marks fasting and repentance, the Church used to let people give vent to their emotions, even the most passionate and carnal ones. The Lent was supposed to purify people from their excesses, to truly live the spirit of Easter. This way, the Carnival regulates the rhythm between the sadness and the joy, which the Christianism believes to be the “passionate order of time”.

The Carnival of Cadiz, as it is known nowadays, also borrows a few characteristics from the Italian Carnival, such as the masks and the confetti that were brought to the Andalusian province by the Genoese merchants in the XV century.

Gran Teatro Falla in Cadiz

The characteristics of the Carnival of Cadiz

From February 8th to February 18th, 2018, Cadiz will be inundated by every kind of singing, dancing and drinking, which will be the main sports during this 10-day celebration. More-than-300 murgas are competing in the Concurso de Agrupaciones del G1. Carnaran Teatro Falla, a competition held in order to determine which group is the best among the contestants.

These official costumed groups are used to dancing and singing satirical ditties usually on foot or floats, as well as performing sketches about the daily or political life in Spain. A brilliant verbal wit characterises the murgas, whose mastery is enhanced by playing different coplas, that is to say, various chants with themes that vary from satirical to serious and more serious ones.

In 2018, the competition takes place from January 9th to January 27th with the preliminary round, followed by the quarterfinals from January 29th to February 3rd. The semifinal occurs from February 5th to February 7th, and the finalists will be judged in the Gran Teatro Falla on February 9th.

Official start of the Carnival of Cadiz

On February 10th, the theatre company “Las niñas de Cádiz” is announcing the official start of the Carnival with the pregón, which will take place in Plaza de San Antonio. This proclamation act about a public issue usually notifies the start of a celebration, particularly that of the Carnival or Semana Santa.

Between February 14th and February 25th, the ilegales fill the streets. These are non-official groups that sing and play the same themes as the murgas do in the Gran Teatro. The main areas where the ilegales can be found are the working-class neighbourhood of Barrio de la Viña, located between the Central Market and La Caleta Beach, Calle Ancha, and around Plaza de Topete.

These acts may seem more spontaneous than the ones in the Theatre, being free of official judgement and competition. However, they don’t lack rehearsals, and the results are for everyone to see. The laughs and folk songs joyfully fill the streets in the same way as they do in the theatre.

Carnival of Cadiz: Group of Ilegales singing in the streets of Cadiz
CÁDIZ. ESCENAS DE CARNAVAL. Photo by Ramon Bacas

On February 25th, the ilegales are putting the finishing touch to the Carnival celebrations with the Carnaval Chiquito (“little Carnival” in Spanish). On this day, the ilegales go back to the streets, to let people enjoy the Carnival spirit once more, with more tranquillity, since the streets are less crowded than during the Carnival week celebrations.

Places to stay in Cadiz

However, if you want to feel the Carnival spirit, you must spend some days in one of the holiday homes in the area of Cadiz. This way, you will be able to relax and recharge batteries after a day spent laughing and discovering the Carnival of Cadiz and its traditions.

Take note of the program of the 2018 Carnival of Cadiz and fall in love with its great and peculiar atmosphere!

Did you like this article? Share the energy and the joy typical of the Carnival of Cadiz with your beloved ones!

Carnival of Cadiz: when and where is an article that talks about Culture in Cadiz
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