The ultimate carnival in Spain and one of the largest in Europe, Los Carnavales de Cádiz is festival of fun, music, revelry, creativity and above all humour that lasts for over a week. In 2019, it will run from the 28th February to the 10th March, during which time this historic city by the sea is transformed into a centre of culture and festivity.
Tapas, sangria, wine, beer and typical Andalusian cuisine are at the heart of the celebrations, so make sure you join the locals for a regular beverage and social stop as you make your way around the cobbled streets of the historic centre. Here you will bump into other revellers around every corner, spotting larger gatherings in the town squares.
More than just a party, the Cádiz Carnival is a riotous expression of good-humoured satire aimed at the issues, politicians and celebrities/characters of the day, and irreverence of the parody is expressed in colourful outfits, wondrous papier mache statuettes, floats and equally creatively crafted songs.
Musical groups will compose their own look, aim their friendly barrel at a particular issue or person, and take it around town or perform at special events throughout the carnival, culminating in competitions designed to choose the best of the satirical performances, which include comparsas, chirigotas, quartets, romanceros and even choirs.
The sensual movement of the comparsas favours the ladies, the goofy delivery of the humorously clad chirigotas is popular among young men, while the older generations and more serious music lovers lean towards choirs. Quartets, as the name indicates, are groups of four revellers who sing to the tune not of guitars, but a simple kazoo and two sticks.
The romanceros, on the other hand, are not unlike the troubadours and ballad-singers of old, telling storeys and sharing legends in song and tale. You can enjoy the open spectacles on streets and in squares, or head over to the Gran Teatro Fallas, where the pre-selection stages and competitions take place.