This past weekend (February 25, 2017) I had the opportunity of attending the Carnaval de Cadiz in Cádiz, Spain.
Known as one of the best-known carnivals in Spain, Carnaval de Cádiz has been a tradition in Andalusia, Spain dating all of the way to the 15th century. The carnival (‘carnaval’ in Spanish), was influenced by the Genovese traders that settled in Cádiz while looking for locations to form parts of the trade route that spanned from Africa to Europe. Year after year, the decorations and festivities were introduced and became a part of the tradition.
In this carnival, the entire city of Cádiz participates in prepping for the events of the carnaval. Unlike other carnivals in other places in the world, Cádiz hosts the tradition of wearing costumes and creatively painting faces rather than using masks. It wasn’t though until the 16th century that the carnival itself transformed into a famous festival. Interestingly enough, the reason behind this was the forbidden use of masks in 1523 by King Carlos V (hence the painting of faces rather than using masks).
Though there is much more history to where the carnival originated from, I am going to be focusing on my experience at the carnival. From a tourist perspective, it almost felt like a ginormous city-wide Halloween celebration. The carnival is know for it’s theatrical shows portraying parody and droll plays on words. On Saturday (the day I attended the festival), everyone wears a costume to celebrate the festivities and the town walls and alleys are filled decorations, confetti and music. Though I didn’t quite notice this, some say that the costumes worn by the locals are related to polemical aspects of the news. However, I mostly saw people dressed as animals, dancers, and iconic images.
As promised on this blog, I will give my absolute honest opinion about any of the events, restaurants or places that I attend. There was no doubt that the Carnaval de Cádiz was spectacular to experience and note, as a tourist. But, I do not feel as it was one of the best carnival experiences I have encountered. Unfortunately, though a beautiful town right on the beach, it was not the cleanest and the carnival did not help the situation out very much. By the end of the night, the town was literally trashed filled with waste in the alleyways. Cádiz is a city that is about a 6-7 hour bus ride from Almería, which made the trip quite exhausting. However, if you do happen be in the area in this time of year, I would whole-heartedly suggest that you experience the carnival. Walking in the streets of Cádiz and seeing the whole town get together to celebrate a tradition is a remarkable experience in itself.
Below you will find some of the pictures and short videos that I captured while in the city of Cádiz and at the carnival itself.
If you have any specific questions or requests about the details of the trip to Cádiz from Almería (or anything related to this blog, being in Spain, etc.), don’t hesitate to contact me. I love hearing from you all.