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Cádiz Carnival, Spain

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What is the Carnival of Cadiz?

The Carnival of Cadiz is a big celebration that takes place in the city of Cadiz, Spain. This celebration is one of the most popular in Spain, turning the city into a big colorful party, full of music and happiness. The Sarcasmo is one of the distinctive elements of the carnival, serving as an exhaust valve to let go of the everyday problems of all gaditanos.

Carnivals in Cadiz have a rebellious, mischievous and humorous nature that make them one of the most outstanding festivals in the country. Every corner of the city is immersed in afantastic two-week celebration full of recitals, parades, contests and much more. Carnival in the city is a greatunprecedentedsocial phenomenon, inviting to the festivities every individual from Cádiz, the rest of Spain and the world.


Carnival festivities in the city of Cadiz are particularly expressive and artistic, since with their coros, chirigotas, comparsas and cuartetos of a provocative, humorous, ironic and catchy nature they transmit messages, opinion and, above all, entertain the whole audience.

Costumes are a must at carnival, all of them of various colors and themes. Costumes are the essence of carnival, the vehicle that allows everyone to convey their message, transform into someone else or simply make fun of someone or something. The carnival of Cadiz is expert at unraveling funny themes through colorful costumes and graceful rhymes.

The festivities are loaded with processions, concerts, comedians, children’s shows and fireworks. In addition, there is never lacking that innovative spark that emerges through the spontaneous chants in the street. We invite you to participate in one of the best festivals in Spain so you can have fun, party and laugh like nowhere else.


The Carnival of Cadiz is a great celebration with music and satire

The Carnival of Cadiz is a great celebration with music and satire


When is the Carnival of Cadiz?

Like many other carnival celebrations in Europe, the Cadiz carnival takes place between the months of February and March, occupying two weeks of official festivities. In addition, the carnival of Cadiz extends its carnivals some days to hold some traditional events.

Ethe carnival of Cadiz will be held approximately from February 11 to 21..



History of the Carnivals of Cadiz



The first records of theCadiz carnival that we know today date back to the 16th century, when they indicate that people threw flowers at each other as a kind of joke. The entire population participated in the festivity, which was not taken lightly, since during the celebrations all work stopped momentarily so that people could be part of such a long-awaited event.

In the 18th century, the crown tried to stifle the carnivals by prohibiting the masked balls; however, the population insisted on holding the festivities, so they never ceased or stopped being held. The carnivals even continued during the French siege of the 19th century.

Institutions began to accept carnivals in a controlled manner. Thus, various masked balls were held under surveillance and regulation to avoid disturbances and excesses. Institutions began to promote carnivals with the intention of civilizing them, applying rules of behavior and censoring some elements at the same time.

Censorship at the end of the 19th century was also applied to the music groups, who had to present their repertoire in advance for it to be approved. Once the carnival arrived, the groups were only allowed to play the authorized songs. Although it was a notable censorship measure, this allowed to keep a history of songs that allowed to know what songs were performed at that time.

Twentieth Century

The beginning of the 20th century were special years for the maturation and proliferation of groupings. However, the process bore little fruit, since with the civil war public celebrations of carnivals were banned. Despite this, some people kept the carnivals, but secretly and privately. This prohibition would last until the middle of the century.

The carnivals resurfaced again after an event that strongly impacted the city in the year 1947. The explosion of the mine deposit of San Severiano was a terrible event that shook the whole city, this event was of such an impact that even some towns of Portugal, neighboring country, perceived the explosion. The carnivals emerged a year later as a vehicle to animate the city, allowing all the elements that had been banned at first.

The choirs and parades took to the streets again, but with some restrictions, especially the control towards masks. In addition, severalfloral games and grape harvest festival were instituted. Several groups from all over Spain and the world came to be part of the carnivals in the city of Cadiz..



The Carnival of Cadiz continued to be held continuously since then, incorporating new elements, contests and comparsas over the years. The Carnival began to have the international recognition that it deserved and there was an increasing participation, both in public and in groups. The Carnival has established itself as one of the largest festivals of its kind in Spain.


Where is the Carnival of Cadiz?

The carnivals are held in thecity of Cadiz, the autonomous community of Andalusia in southwestern Spain.

Cadiz is currently the third most populous city in the entire province. Cadiz has a total area of 12.3 square kilometers and is home to more than 110,000 inhabitants.


During the Carnival of Cadiz several cultural groups of Cadiz perform

During the Carnival of Cadiz several cultural groups of Cadiz perform



How is the Carnival of Cádiz celebrated?

The Cadiz Carnival has a large number of activities that take place from beginning to end, mainly activities, events and musical ceremonies, as these are the very spirit of the festivities. Despite having a large number of celebrations, the Carnival of Cadiz has some particular elements that deserve to be highlighted.


Official contest of carnival groups of Cadiz

This contest is actually one of the attractions of the highest caliber throughout the carnivals and its celebration extends for a month until theFriday before Ash Wednesday. It is currently the most important carnival group competition in Spain, with the participation of groups from Andalusia as well as from other regions of the country and the world. The contest is held at the Gran Teatro Falla..

The contest has 4 phases: Clasificatory, Quarterfinals, Semifinals and the Final. Each group has 30 minutes to perform their repertoire. In addition, the contest has 4 modalities in which include coros, comparsas, chirigotas and cuartetos. Likewise, the contest integrates the adult, youth and children competition and the winner gets a trophy and a certain amount of money.



The choir is the largest group, counting up to 45 members, including basses, vocalists, tenors and orchestras. It also features instruments such as lutes, guitars and bandurrias. Each group has its own characteristic costume.

Generally, the repertoire includes: introduction, tangos, and potpourri.



The groups occupy up to 14 members among them are the tenors, choirs, alto tenors and contraltos. In addition, the instruments used in the performances are generally the bombo, the drums and the guitar, but other instruments are also used depending on the costumes. During the performances, the comparsas include elements of criticism and protest. The comparsas can present a repertoire by composing introduction, pasodoble and potpourri..



It composes of about 12 people, including tenors, choirs and altos. In addition, the instruments used in the presentations are the bombo, the drums and the guitar. Other instruments are included if the situation warrants it. The type of repertoire is the same as that of the comparsas: introduction, pasodoble and potpourri.


They are composedof between 3 to 5 members and their repertoire includes introduction, parodies and potpourri. In the performances they wear costumes and cover themes with satirical features. The main objective of this group is to make the audience laugh.


Carrusel de coros

This is a parade of choirs that takes place during carnivals, usually in the adjacencies of the Plaza Abastos. The carousels have been one of the main attractions of the carnivals for several years, congregating hundreds of people in the streets. The presentations usually take place after 1:00 pm.



The Carnival of Cadiz has two parades throughout the carnival. One of them takes placeon the first Sunday of the carnival and has a large participation of people, including the winners of the Official Contest of Carnival Groups of Cadiz. The first parade is one of the biggest attractions of the carnival along with the grouping contest.

The second parade is the Cabalgada del Humor which is held on the last Sunday and is held in the historic center. People are dressed in various funny costumes, singing and doing some rowdiness and horseplay. You can also see big bobblehead dolls and carriages.





This group emerged a few years ago asanother form of street participation in Carnival. There are a number of bands formed by friends, colleagues at work, clubs, families, among others. They are the counterpart of the official groups, competing with them.

The illegals perform in the streets and are considered the very essence of the carnivals, since they can talk about whatever they want, without control. Their proposal of themes is varied and their pieces can contain from daily events and routines, such as complaints towards politics, social strata and world events.

These groups perform in the streets, putting together their own scenography, costumes and instruments. Illegals can be composed of both men and women or mixed.



It is a humorous performance usually performed in the streets of the city recited by one or two people. The pieces have rhyme in which they tell various events that have happened to some of the people who are presented. In addition, they wear costumes and usually carry a sign.


Tips to go to the Carnivals of Cadiz?

If you wish to attend the carnival in Cadiz, we recommend planning your trip in advance, making a travel itinerary and booking the accommodation of your choice in advance. Also, don’t forget to pack comfortable clothes so you can fully enjoy the carnivals.

Be sure to pack a costume, either individual or group. The best way to celebrate carnivals is through active participation, so we strongly recommend that you wear a costume. The best days to wear a costume are Saturdays, which is when everyone in the city wears a particular type of costume or outfit.


Events in Cadiz Carnival

The celebration of Cadiz Carnival is continuous and there is partying from start to finish in the city. The Carnival of Cadiz has an extensive program of events that occur during all days of the celebration. However, there are also several activities and celebrations a few weeks before the carnival, some of them even extending until the beginning of the official festivities.


Pre-Carnival events

Pre-Carnival celebrations include various ceremonial activities, as well asevents outside the city’s jurisdiction, popular activities and competitions. Among the most prominent pre-Carnival events are:


Carnival presentation in Madrid

This is an event where the carnival is promoted in the city of Madrid. Despite not being a completely festive event, various alliances are made for people to approach the carnival of Cadiz during the festivities. In this way, they canencourage economic activity and attract more tourists.


Popular foods

During pre-Carnival somepopular meals are held to brighten up the festive feeling. At this time the Pestiñá, Erizá and Ostioná populares, in which people eat erizos de mar, ostiones or ostras and Pestiños, typical Christmas and Easter sweets. These sweets consist of small loops of fried dough.

To attract more people to the festivities, the clubs began to offer a wide variety of food: ostras, sea urchins, fried cakes, sopas, fried food and tortillas. In this way, people passed from local to local eating and partying.

The Pestiñada or Pestiñá organized by the Club Los Dedócratas onSaturday before the start of the official Contest of carnival groups of Cadiz. During the event some 12,000 fried cakes are made along with the traditional accompaniment of aglass of aniseed.

The Erizada or Erizá is organized by the El Erizo club on the day following the Pestiñada. During the event about 400 kilos of sea urchins are distributed.

The Ostionada or Ostioná is organized by the El Molino club on the same day as the Erizada. During the event some 1,500 kg of oysters are distributed.



In the precaranvales the pre-military phases of the official competition of carnival groups of Cadiz are held, along with the children and youth categories.


Official carnival events


Carnival Thursday


Inauguration of the lighting

This is the official inauguration of the carnival. During the event dozens of figures and lights embellish and light up the streets of the city at night.


Carnival Friday

In the evening the proclamation of the Carnival Goddess, both adult and children, takes place. The event is usually held in the San Antonio Square.

Likewise, during this day also takes place theGrand Final of the official contest of carnival groups of Cadiz.


Saturday of Carnival

It is the first day with a considerable amount of event. During the day takes place the Pregón Infantil event, then a carousel of choirs, the Pregón del Carnaval event and ends with a concurso de romanceros.


Sunday of Carnival

During the morning takes place in Carrusel de Coros, where different groups will present their repertoire. In the afternoon, the Cabalgata Magna or Grand Cavalcade takes place, which runs through the main streets of the city. In the cavalcade more than ten themed floats parade, dance exhibitions and music are performed. It is one of the celebrations with the largest number of people and participants.

During the night agreat fireworks show is performed.


Monday of Carnival

This day is quiet, as somepresentations are made in the Carrousel de coros in the company of the various groups.


Tuesday of Carnival

On this day the Burning of the God Momo takes place. The God Momo is nothing more than the symbology of satire and irony. The event begins at 8 p.m. and is accompanied by afuneral procession with Momo. At the end of the event there is an act with the Pregón.


Cinder Wednesday

On this day variouspresentations of street chirigotas take place. Usually, the acts continue until the last day of the festivities.



During the day there is acarousel of choirs and various concerts in different parts of the city.


Saturday of Piñata

During the day a panizada popular or Panizá popular paniza is held in which panizas, small snacks made of chickpea flour are eaten. In addition, during this day extremaduran crumbs and some drinks are also distributed, which are usually free.


Sunday of Piñata

During this day there is a carousel of choirs, a popular frito, fried fish and a fireworks show. In addition, there is also the Burning of the Piti Witch, which represents a burning and purging of the sins and excesses that were carried out during the week.


Carnival of the Wild Boars

It takes place on thesecond Sunday of Lent and consists of a small carnival-style celebration. In the event, some performances are held just as if they were carnivals, along with romanceros, street performances and the presentation of children’s groups and comparsas.


The floats cross the streets during the Carnival of Cadiz

The floats cross the streets during the Carnival of Cadiz


Cádiz Carnival Parades


The Main Parade is known as Gran Cabalgata or Cabalgata Marga, which takes place on the Sunday before Carnival Monday. This day is one of the most special and starts at 5:30 in the afternoon. During the event, a large parade takes place with the participation ofdozens of people dressed in funny costumes who transit through the streets of the city. In addition, the musical bands, percussion and trumpet also take to the streets with animosity toentertain the public..

The themed floats is one of the most anticipated attractions of the parade. Dozens of floats full of lights and with large structures take over the city. These floats have diverse themes and carry several participants on them who are dedicated to throwing confetti to the spectators.

The event also featureslarge inflatable dolls and dolls that strut from side to side. They also havefantastic animals that move from side to side for the public to watch in amazement. A great musical atmosphere envelops the entire celebration and a great festive and fun atmosphere can be felt throughout the street.

Several groups also take to the streets wearing great costumes, both group and individual. The musical groups that perform in the Official Contest of carnival groups of Cadiz also take to the streets, but this time they do not perform any type of musical presentation.


Parade route


The Cadiz Carnival parades feature big floats

The Cadiz Carnival parades feature big floats



The Grand Cavalcade takes place from Glorieta Ingeniera la Cierva from 5:30 or 6 in the afternoon to Puertas de Tierra. The whole route adds up to about 3.5 kilometers and the whole event is done in a couple of hours with the route of all the floats and groups.


Las panizas are classic carnival food in Cádiz

Las panizas are classic carnival food in Cádiz


What to eat in the Carnival of Cadiz?

Cadiz Carnival celebrations come with a wide variety of dishes that you can try before, during and after the festivities. It has become something of a tradition for people to actively participate in the carnivals through food, so during the festivities you will see the various venues offering a plethora of local dishes. In addition, before and after the event there are popular meals that you can attend and try a lot of dishes, sweets and fried food.

One of the dishes that you can try during the carnival festivities in Cádiz are the panizas. The panizas are an extremely economical and humble dish, but it has earned its place within the celebrations. To make panizas you only need 3 things: water, salt and garbando flour. Heat water in a pot, add salt and then add little by little the chickpea flour until it cooks and comes off the walls of the pot. Pour it into a mold, wait for it to cool, chop it into small sticks and then fry them in plenty of oil.

One of the sweets that you can try during the carnival in Cadiz is the Pestiño. Pestiños are small fried dough that are typical of Andalusia. Pestiño is made with flour, lemon peel, wine and oil. After this, they are fried in abundant oil and when they are taken out, they are covered with honey and powdered sugar.

In addition, the city of Cadiz also offers you some options to eat out during carnivals: Restaurante Candelaria, Bar Mediterráneo, Ventorrillo El Chato, La Curiosidad de Mauro Barreiro, Restaurante El Faro de Cádiz, Restaurante Café Royalty, Mini-Bar La Tabernita, Código de Barra, La Tapería De Columela and Ventorrillo El Chato..


Los pestiños son pequeños dulces típicos de carnaval en Cádiz

Los pestiños son pequeños dulces típicos de carnaval en Cádiz



What to see and do inside the Carnival of Cadiz

During the carnivals you have a lot of activities in which you can participate. If you extend your visit a couple of weeks before, you can start to see the preliminaries of the official Contest of carnival groups of Cadiz. In addition, you can also see when they perform the ceremony of turning on the lighting, when the city is filled with hundreds of thousands of small lights that form patterns and figures.

The Carrousels of Choirs, the romanceros, the chirigotas and the presentations of the illegal in the streets are definitely one ofthe best street events you can attend. During the carnival days, go around every corner of the city and join these fantastic events full of satirical messages, humor particular to the city of Cadiz and hundreds of jokes and funny comments.

Remember to attend the Gran Cabalgata or Cabalgata Magna, where you can see dozens of floats moving all over the street, big inflatable dolls, fantastic animals, comparsas and dancers everywhere. The Burning of the God Momo is also one of the attractions you should attend, as well as the variousgastronomic events and popular meals throughout the carnival celebration.


What to see and do outside the Carnivals of Cadiz

The city of Cadiz has a lot of tourist attractions that you can visit during your carnival festivities.

Central Market

It is the most popular and visited market in the city. Inside you can find lots of food stalls and ingredients. In addition, you can also find several ready-made food stalls. It is an ideal place to learn more about the local and regional cuisine and gastronomy.


Genovés Park

Genovés Park is a large historic garden built in the 18th century. The park has undergone several extensions and remodeling and currently has about 70 species of plants, including Metrosidero, Ficus lira, Fig, hackberry, hackberry, Cica, Opuntia, Eucalyptus, Hibiscus, Aleppo pine, Bougainvillea, Drago, Maple, Izote, White mulberry, Aralia, Rosemary, Laurel, Japanese bush, Date palm, Bonetero, Crásula, Aloe and Marjoram, among others.


Cathedral of Cadiz

It is one of the main temples of the city. The building has a baroque and neoclassical style facade. The church was built between 1722 and 1838. Inside you can find several domes such as the dome of the transept, also have some other smaller ones. In addition, you can also find various religious images and objects of great historical and religious value.



Weather in the Carnival of Cadiz

During the carnival festivities, the city of Cadiz has a somewhat pleasant climate, with temperatures ranging between 11 and 17 degrees Celsius. If you are a chilly person, we recommend packing something warm to cover you during the festivities.


The performances and presentations in the streets is one of the main attractions of the Cadiz Carnival

The performances and presentations in the streets is one of the main attractions of the Cadiz Carnival



How to get to the Cadiz Carnival

The closest airport to the city of Cádiz is the Jerez La Parra International Airport, which is located 35 kilometers from the city. The airport receives a good number of flights from Spain and various parts of Europe such as Germany, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Belgium and Switzerland. Once at the airport, you can use the various means of transport to reach the city center.

How to arrive by boat

Cadiz has a port in the historic center of the city. Cádiz receives cruise ships mainly from Las Palmas, Arrecife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Santa Cruz de la Palma.


How to get there by train

From Jerez La Parra International Airport you can take a train ofRenfe Cercanías or Renfe Viajeros to the city center. The journey takes 45 minutes.

The city of Cadiz also receives several trains from the Province of Cadiz and Sevilla. From some destinations you will have to make some stops at other stations to get there.


How to get there by bus

From Jerez La Parra International Airport you can take a bus from Transportes Bahía de Cádiz or Sociobus. The journey takes an hour and a quarter and the price ranges between 3 and 6 US dollars.

The city is also connected to Malaga, Algeciras, Chiclana and San Fernando by the N340 highway. In addition, it also connects with Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto Santa María and Puerto Real through the A4 Highway.


How to get there by car

From Jerez La Parra International Airport you can take the A4 road to the city center. The journey takes 30 minutes.

If you take a cab, the price ranges between 60 and 75 US dollars.

As with the bus connections, the city of Cádiz is connected to Málaga, Algeciras, Chiclana and San Fernando via the N340 and to Sevilla, Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto Santa María and Puerto Real via the A4 highway.