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Carnival season in Spain: Tenerife, Cadiz & Sitges Carnivals

You are just in time to make it to Carnival season in Spain.
The second largest in the world (first is Rio de Janeiro of course) and most famous carnival in Spain takes place in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Although competitions for the best costumes and designs begin at the end of January, don’t worry, the Carnival Parade itself starts on the 1st of March (2014). 
You have plenty of time to get booking those flights and get yourself down here to enjoy one big heck of a party!
Carnival Tenerife

Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canary Islands)

The Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is divided into two parts, the official Carnival and the street Carnival. The official Carnival is the parade you do not want to miss! Hundreds of groups get dressed to impress and parade themselves in tune to fantastically loud and lively music bands. The street carnival are a series of more loosely organized events and parades happening sometimes spontaneously in the streets of Tenerife.

And not only professionals join in, for thousands of people go each day to the streets to participate, most of whom wear a disguise in accordance with Carnival tradition.

Carnival Tenerife
It has been informed that the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife aspires to be recognized as a World Heritage site by UNESCO. Meanwhile it is in process of validation, we recommend you come and see it and experience it for yourself!
Starting 31st January, until 25th February, a long list and schedule of validation stages of candidates for the Carnival parade take place. From adult queen, to junior king and queen, to elder queen, to music groups, etc… there are lots of categories.
It is on the 26th February that the final Gala to choose the Carnival Queen will take place.
It will be highly broadcasted on the media platforms, but you may be able to catch it live, click here for more information

Starting on the 1st March it’s when the main Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival begins!

1st March, dances and performances in various venues throughout Tenerife.
2nd March, daytime Carnival, parade through the streets.
3rd March, more dances and performances in different venues & the big parade begins!
4th March, the big and final parade through the street.
5th March, ‘the burial of the sardine’ – Also known as ‘Ash Wednesday’ this is the day that marks the end of the Carnival. 
But not to worry, it’s not the end of the party. The following weekend, the party starts up again, known as the weekend of the ‘piñata’
9th March, Official end of Carnival 2014.

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Carnival Tenerife

Carnival in Sitges (Barcelona)

Not as big as the Carnival in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Sitges’ Carnival has it’s own charm. Despite it being in the winter months in the Spanish península, Sitgetans still take to the streets to participate in the parade in skimpy outfits, whilst fully coated people watch on the sidelines.
In time of Carnival, city of Sitges is governed by the Carnival King ‘Carnestoltes’ (King of the Crackpots) alongside the Carnival Queen. The whole town becomes a stage characterized essentially by debauchery and joy.

Events for the Carnival of Sitges start around the 26th February, but it is on Sunday 2nd (at 19:30h) and Tuesday 4th when the real parades take place. Sunday is most important day in the Sitges Carnival, the Rua de la Disbauxa (Debauchery Parade) takes place at 19:30h, a parade with about fifty floats and over 3,000 disguised participants.
The Carnival then finishes on Wednesday 5th (at 20:00h), with wailing women giving you a last glimpse of their sassy outfits. This carnival is very child friendly as holds specific competitions for junior King and Queen candidates and consecutive parades on the important Carnival at 15:00h.

In case you fail to catch any of the live parades of any of these Carnivals, don’t worry, Spanish TV and other media platforms are sure to be broadcasting it all.

It is estimated that a total number of 2,500 people will parade in Sitges during this Carnival. Talk about a crowd! If you want to join the crowd, click here to learn more about Sitges Carnival.

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Carnival Sitges

Carnival of Cádiz

This is a bit of a different kind of Carnival. Less show of skin, but nevertheless as crazy and wild in activities and constumes! 

Validation and competition stage for Carnival candidates starts on 31st January and follows through until 26th February. Once Carnival performers and goers are categorized and organized, on the 28th February, it is when the Carnival happens! Parties and other events related to the Carnival will take place until 9th March, around the city, parades and all.
In difference to the other Carnivals mentioned in this article, Cádiz’s main Carnival is hosted in great Theatre ‘Falla’. Cadiz Carnaval has a distinctive history and structure involving many artists either working as a group called chirigotas who perform entertaining peices that poke fun at anybody or anything, or the more musical choirs and comparsas sometimes hilarious and others more serious.
For more information visit

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