It is commonly believed that the term “Carnival” (carnaval in Spanish) has its origin in the Italian “carne levare”, literally “remove the meat” or “take the meat away”. In Catholic religion there is a period of 40 days before Easter (known as Cuaresma in Spanish, Lent in English) when the believer should supposedly repent, fast, meditate and abstain from the pleasures of the flesh.
Though Carnivals are merrily celebrated all through the Spanish geography, we want to highlight two very different outstanding festivities: the Carnivals of Tenerife, and the Carnivals of Cadiz.
The Carnivals of Tenerife have been compared to those of Rio de Janeiro, and they could indeed compete in the beauty of the pageants, the flamboyant gorgeous dresses full of beads and feathers, the exuberance and fun… and possibly also the amount of flesh shown (after all, the Canary islands may well be the only place in Europe where such attire -or lack of attire- can be worn in February).
The Carnivals of Cadiz, on the other hand, while less showy in terms of costumes, is possibly one of the most extravagant and funny parties in the world. Cadiz puts the stress in humour and entertainment, with the Chirigotas (groups of local people) wandering the streets singing funny and very witty songs, accompanied with guitars and lutes. These songs satirize everything that the gaditanos think that should change in politics, society, music… and usually spare nobody.
Do not hesitate and come to Spain in February. Whatever destination you choose, one thing is certain, after Carnivals you may repent, but you will not regret.