Carnival is just around the corner, guys! Do you have your costumes and your flight ticket to Rio de Janeiro ready?
… Too pricey, uh?
Well for those living in Old Europe who cannot afford such an exciting, unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience, I would like to introduce a couple of cheaper and equally enjoyable alternatives: Tenerife and Cádiz!
Carnival of Cádiz
Why is Carnival of Cádiz so special? The answer is simple: CHIRIGOTAS. These are satirical choral folksongs usually performed in the streets by costumed locals. It is commonly known as a way to criticize and parody politicians or any public figure who has for whatever reason been part of a recent scandal which has become a matter of public knowledge. Chirigotas and Carnival were both prohibited during the Franco dictatorship so this may explain why there has been such a great resurgence of these traditions ever since he died back in 1975.
Carnival of Tenerife
Approximately 1,700 km away from the above-mentioned chirigotas, the island of Tenerife provides not just an everlasting summer but the hugest Carnival of Spain. It is held in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and considered the second most popular Carnival in the world right after the one celebrated in Rio. These festivities start on the Friday prior to Carnival with a plethora of opening parades and other street performances both during the day and night, and last until Ash Wednesday. In fact, there are two kinds of Carnival: the official one and the one on the street. The first includes mainly traditional music performances, whereas the latter consists of thousands of costumed people celebrating Carnival on the street and taking part in contests of all kinds. Among these contests held during these festivities the most well-known is the Carnival Queen Selection, which is held on the Wednesday before the Carnival Weekend. During this event the candidates parade across the main stage showing off their elaborated, beautiful, expensive and heavy costumes. And by “heavy” I mean that candidate queens need to rely on wheeled transportation. By the end of the gala the bridesmaids are elected and finally so is the Carnival Queen who will become an ambassador for the Canary Islands and represent these festivities at tourism fairs around the world.
And last but not least, here our Carnival song par excellence: