This is THE festival in Cadiz, Spain. The celebration takes place around Shrove Tuesday (dates vary according to year). At this time of the year, Cadiz perks up even more as people dress in fancy costumes and masks. Flamenco and satirical music groups make presentations in city streets and squares. The city is filled with frenetic energy and is literally bursting with color and music.

The carnival is patterned after the Italian Venice Carnival. Cadiz then was one of the major ports of Spain, which was in heavy trade with Venice. The Gaditanos who visited Venice copied its celebration and made it into one of the most popular festivals in Andalusia.

Without a doubt, the Carnival is among the most beautiful of festivals in Spain. Colorful parades, satirical performances, flamenco recitals, general merriment and dancing are just some of the key elements of this festival.

Do not miss these presentations and recitals, because you will learn much about Cadiz and its people from these. There are the chirigotas, which are satirical groups that poke fun of politicians, personalities and the world in general. There are also a wide variety of performers – comic actors, romanceros, quartets, comparas and choruses. These have presentations on various sections of the city, turning it into a virtual open theater during the Carnival.

Of course, Carnival is not just about cultural offerings – it is, literally, one big party. This is the time when tourists don’t even bother to book hotel rooms, they just stay in the streets, partying all night and resting in whatever space they can find. It is also a time when vino floods the streets, making the crowd go wild and frenetic.

People come from different parts of Spain and the world to witness the Carnival, which is the third largest festival in the world, next to the Rio de Janiero and Trinidad Carnivals.

In San Juan, pop your ears out with the “daily thunder”. There is a fireworks display conducted daily for the entire duration of the Carnival.

The Carnival displays the best of the wit, artistry and spirit of the Gaditanos. Be sure not to miss it!