Carnivals are one of the most joyful and lively festivals and, although the reason for so much merriment is the same, each point of our geography has something different that makes it unique. This year the festival begins on Thursday February 8 (known in many places as Lardero Thursday) and finish on the 14th (Ash Wednesday). But why do the dates vary year after year? Because, like Holy Week, Carnival is governed by the lunar calendar. Thus, knowing that Easter Sunday is always the first full moon sunday of spring (in the northern hemisphere), you only have to count forty days, the length of Lent, to reach Ash Wednesday, the last day of Carnival.

This year the festival begins on Thursday, February 8 (known in many places as Lardero Thursday) and ends on the 14th (Ash Wednesday).

The Lent It was a time when Christians were preparing for everything that Holy Week means. He fasting and recollection They marked those days and that is why, before facing somewhat sad and hard days, a great party was held in which anything was worth it. And to maintain anonymity and not have anything blamed on them later, people began to cover their faces. From that gesture to a costume parade there is only one step…

Centuries later The soul of Carnival remains the same, although each region has been introducing new traditions and elements that further enrich this unique festival. Each town has its own, but these are the most notable and the ones you have to write down to cross out year after year.


Queen of the Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2023, Lola Ortiz Luque.


Las Palmas is already beginning to celebrate its carnival: costumes, parades, drags and lots of color

Tenerife Carnival.
Tenerife Carnival.

1. Tenerife, the big party

If you have to start with one, it’s better to do it big. It was the first carnival to be declared Festival of Tourist Interest back in 1980 next to the one in Cádiz. Of course, it is easy to compare it with that of Rio de Janeiro, with which it is twinned. The chicharrero carnival is the culmination of fantasy and “brillibrilli”. Choosing your queen It is one of the most anticipated times of the year and its agenda is full of concerts and outdoor activities.


Valladolid.- Church of Santa María, Wamba


The mysterious Castilian church decorated with thousands of human bones

Chirigota de Cádiz.
Chirigota de Cádiz.

2. Cádiz, the humor of chirigotas

Here the main protagonists are the chirigotasso before getting lost in the party you have to listen carefully to these songs full of humor and also topical in which nothing and no one is safe and laughter is more than guaranteed. Of course, there are also costumes and all the partying you want or your body can handle.

Parade with costumes
Parade with “cigarrons” costumes in Verín (Galicia).

3. Orense and its “Maxian triangle”

The towns of the only Galician province that does not have a sea compete every year in a real battle to see who has the best carnivals. Xinzo de Limia, Verín and Laza are at the top and that is why we include them in this list of essentials. In Galicia they are known as “the maximum triangle”, something that should already make you suspect that they are very special.

The one of Xinzo of Limia It is known for being the longest in the world and the typical costume is The screen, consisting of white pants and shirt, black or red cape and colored strips and a bell belt so as not to go unnoticed. Of course, they are not dangerous and their only mission is to encourage everyone to dress up and have as much fun as they do.

The carnivals of Verín, Xinzo de Limia and Laza form in Galicia what they call “the Mexican triangle” of this celebration

The one of Verin It is the oldest and they rule here the Cigarrones, a position that is transmitted from parents to children. In this costume the most characteristic feature is the wooden mask adorned with a wide smile. And before leaving Orense you have to visit Laza, the craziest carnival, and the best advice that can be given is to “study” the customs first to find out what the game is about and know that in the “farrapada” everyone starts throwing “bulleiro” and then it will come “A xitanada two donkeys.” In the afternoon that same square will be filled with flour and ants and everyone will follow a wooden cow…


The Fragas do Eume Natural Park is one of the largest autumn paradises in all of Europe and a destination that is at its maximum splendor at this time of year.


The most beautiful natural park in Spain is Galician: a huge hidden treasure

Carnival of Águilas, in Murcia.
Carnival of Águilas, in Murcia.

4. Eagles and their great battle

In this Murcian town Color, fantasy, a waste of imagination and excess also reign in every costume and every celebration. But if there is something that makes it unique, it is the tradition of battle of Cascarones. In Águilas they have been letting the egg shells dry for days so they can fill them with confetti. This will be your ammunition in the great battle that represents Don Carnal and Doña Cuaresma.

Lantz Carnival, in Navarra.
Lantz Carnival, in Navarra.

5. Lantz, go for the bandit

Nearly Pamplona The carnival has a protagonist that nobody likes, the bandit Miel-Otxin, who, legend has it, had the entire town in fear. Thus, the most anticipated moment of this party is the Execution and Burning of Miel-Otxin in the town fronton. It is a party that was recovered thanks to a documentary by Pío Caro Baroja and that each year has a greater impact.


Carmona, Seville


Discover the Monasterio del Diablo, a mysterious enchanted convent in a town in Seville

Carnival in Alhama de Granada.
Carnival in Alhama de Granada.

6. Alhama de Granada, fashion in reverse

Among the festivals of the Andalusian rural world, this is the most rooted. Every year, men and women change their clothes, the only requirement being that they be the oldest and most out of fashion that they keep in their closets. Of course, they cover their faces and recite traditional songs that everyone there knows and that you will have to learn.

Colorful at the Badajoz carnival.
Colorful at the Badajoz carnival.

7. Badajoz, the parade of joy

The carnival of the capital of Badajoz is Festival of International Interest and the city has had its own Carnival Museum. The festival reflects the hard work that locals do to provide color and spectacularity to their most emblematic celebration of the year. The parades are a riot of joy, color and music that take over the streets and the people of Badajoz. Tulle, felt, satin and an endless number of materials give life to the costumes that the troupes wear every year in a spectacular parade that should not be missed.


Ruins of the Monasterio de Piedra church


The fascinating monastery surrounded by waterfalls and nature where hot chocolate was invented

Madeira Island Carnival.
Carnival on the island of Madeira.

8. Madeira, with a slap parade

If you want to take advantage of these days to take a getaway outside our borders, but you don’t want to give up the magic of the carnival or go too far, This Portuguese archipelago is ideal. Despite being known for its exuberant nature and the tranquility that it transmits, on these dates everything changes and the music, the fantasy of Their costumes and the craziest traditions take to the streets so that both locals and visitors can have the most fun. One of the funniest acts is the “Trapalhão” parade (slap parade), where participants stand out for the creativity of their costumes and range from social and political satire to traditional themes or character costumes.

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