Cádiz spends the whole year preparing for its popular Carnival celebrations, which are one of
the best known in Spain and throughout the world as a huge street party. For 11 days, the
streets of Cádiz are filled with vibrant costumes, non-stop fun and many people participating.
The whole city transforms to create an unforgettable experience of singing, dancing and pure
enjoyment. This is one of the most-awaited events on the Spanish calendar, and therefore it is
not one to be missed!
During the 16th century, the city of Cádiz had much trade with Venice, which inspired the
Carnival which is known today. Now, the carnival has become known worldwide for the roaming
streets of artists, with the most outstanding feature being that they sing witty and satirical songs
about Spanish current affairs and prominent Spanish features. These singing groups compete
to perform in the carnival, and this starts three weeks before the opening of it. The most
prevalent group that you will see amongst all the singing satirists during the carnival are groups
known as ‘Chirigotas’, who are humorous groups performing satirical pieces. The other groups
that you will come across are the ‘Comparsas’ who present their satirical songs in a more
serious manner, performing classical music. The largest group you will see are the choirs, made
up of about 20 performers, their signature song is the ‘Carnival Tango’ and they wear the most
elaborate costumes. With so much culture of music and dance, there is no wonder this carnival
is so popular and shouldn’t be missed!
Fancy dress is compulsory at the Cadiz Carnival as there are two parades where the public are
involved as part of the vibrant and colourful procession. The Gran Cabalgata (Great Parade) is
on the first Sunday and it attracts tens of thousands of people through the entrance to the city.
The second parade that Carnival goers can take places in is The Cabalgata del Humor
(Comedy Parade) which goes through the old town on the last weekend and is a fun and
humorous way to take part and celebrate the carnival.
The “charangas ilegales” are another group who contribute to an element of the Cadiz Carnival,
where they usually gather in the Plaza de las Flores. These are made up of families and groups
of friends that are amateur singers, so do not enter the official competition, but whose repertoire
of songs compete for humour and laughs with the “official” groups. It is just their chance to get
involved, have fun and not take themselves too seriously!
Outdoor parties, fireworks, fancy dress dances and many more additional activities all ensure
that the fun doesn’t stop for a moment throughout the celebrations, and this is why the Cadiz
Carnival is not one to be missed!