Have I mentioned that the Spanish really do know how to throw a party? If I haven’t, Carnival of Cádiz is the ultimate proof. Cádiz, an Andalusian town on the Atlantic coast of Spain, is famous for its carnival.
The tradition goes back to the 16th century, when Cádiz was a major European port, with very strong economic and cultural ties to ports like Venice. The Carnival of Venice served as an inspiration, but, of course, the Gaditanos (residents of Cádiz) put their own stamp on the festivities and they did it so well that their carnival has long been considered one of the major ones in Europe, attracting people from all over Spain and beyond. I’ve never been, unfortunately, even though I was invited to the carnival by a Gaditano friend (well, he was from Madrid, but Cádiz was his father’s hometown). He told me about the non-stop partying, the fun, the music the jokes, the little cup on a chain that you wear around your neck and people on the streets just keep pouring wine into it. (Remember the song “Red Solo Cup“? That sort of idea).
The people dress up in the silliest costumes – the sillier the better. Nobody cares about being fancy – it’s about looking as ridiculous as possible and making each other laugh. And this goes on for days and days – this year the carnival runs from February 27 to March 9. Everyone is out on the streets: young and old. The fact that there is no generational divide is great. A party is a party and the young ones have much to learn from the older folks, since good partying, like anything else, requires practice. Music groups rehearse all year to perform at the carnival and compete to outdo each other in humorous songs and outrageous costumes. So if you are feeling kind of blue, head to Cádiz: since laughter is infectious, you’re certain to catch it and laugh your way out of the dumps.
To give you an idea about the atmosphere, I turned to… Instagram, of course, where else. The people posting are having fun down there right now! Go Cádiz Carnival, I hope we’ll meet in the not so distant future.